Chinese sailors continue to make history

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The Clipper 13-14 Race will feature an entry representing Qingdao for the fifth consecutive time making the capital of sailing in China the longest standing entry in the race’s history, and last week 26 locals hoping to become Clipper Race crew took part in the final selection tests.

They undertook a series of trials including a written exam, swimming and fitness tests, an anti-sea sickness test and an all-day interview. Finally, the group was narrowed down to the best 18 candidates based on their cumulative scores from those tests.

Following their selection, the crew were taken to see some of the new Clipper 70s in Qingdao which will be delivered from China to the UK in the coming months and on which they will sail when they join the race.

All are now taking part in their initial crew training in Qingdao with former race skippers Ian Conchie and Gareth Glover, before they travel to Britain next year to undergo further training.

Meanwhile, the legacy of the Clipper Race’s partnership with Qingdao was evident as former Clipper Race crew member GC (Guo Chuan) started his next adventure: a solo non-stop circumnavigation.

GC, 47, was the first ever Chinese crew member to take part in the Clipper Race during the 2005-06 edition. 

His latest remarkable journey started this week as he set out from Qingdao on his solo non-stop circumnavigation, which he hopes to complete within 130 days.

“No skipper can 100 per cent ensure the success before he starts the journey, but I feel at least I’ve been well prepared,” GC told his website before leaving the Olympic Sailing City of Qingdao heading for Cape Horn.

“I have been extremely busy for the most recent month because I had too much work to do such as testing the equipment on board, storing enough food for 130-odd days, keeping fit, testing marine satellite telecommunication systems and researching weather information. 

“However, since I’ve been doing this all in my hometown, I am always receiving the greatest support. The support from Qingdao Sailing Association and sponsors greatly facilitates my preparation and makes everything run smoother. I am very grateful and encouraged by all of kindness, my confidence is boosted as well.”