After six weeks training in Lisbon, Dongfeng Race Team are sailing to their base in Lorient, France in preparation for the next phase of the campaign… crew selection. The team are sailing to Lorient with nine sailors plus one Onboard Reporter and skipper Charles Caudrelier will use the trip north up the Iberian coast and across the Bay of Biscay to help make decisions on his crew for the race itself.
"This is the first long offshore we have done together and it will be a good test,” Caudrelier said. “The race itself is going to be completely different to the last edition, as we will be sailing more in the Southern Ocean. We need to practise more in strong winds as the Southern Ocean legs will count for double points.”
Dongfeng is the first of the Volvo Ocean 65s to leave Lisbon following its 1 million euro refit at The Boatyard.
For the next five months, the Chinese team will call France their home, just as they did in the build-up to 2014-15 race.
'La base’, as it is more commonly known in Lorient, was also home to the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race winners Groupama, a team that included Caudrelier.
With 235 days to go until the start in Alicante, Dongfeng have been pushing hard behind the scenes and Caudrelier has been pouring his efforts into building a campaign that will do more than just challenge for a podium. Being the first team on the water – he’s certainly made a good start.
Time together with the team is always goodCharles Caudrelier
“I am happy about the work we have done so far as we have achieved all the goals on our list. During the last campaign we spent almost four months just learning to work together and getting to know our Chinese sailors. Today we are 100% focused on performance and working well together." There’s no question progress is being made – physically, mentally and even with regards to language capabilities.
Our team is back together and things have been going wellCharles Caudrelier
Will Dongfeng Race Team become the first Chinese team in history to lift the Volvo Ocean Race trophy?
And if so… who will be onboard?