​Largest ever group of Chinese crew in UK for training

15 May 2015

The largest ever contingent of Chinese crew to represent China’s sailing city of Qingdao in a single edition of the race are currently in the UK to complete all four levels of training.

The group of 16, who were selected during a tough application process and trial in Qingdao in January, have been split into two groups of eight. The two groups met each other today to swap valuable tips as the first group finished their training and the second group arrived to start theirs.

Qingdao team skipper Igor Gotlibovych, has praised the ability of his Chinese crew members, saying: “The Qingdao Ambassadors have impressed me greatly with their professionalism, eagerness and positive attitudes. The Clipper Race training is notoriously tough but they have fully embraced the experience and I’m looking forward to welcoming them back on board during the race.”

The 16 ambassadors include eight women, and range from age 21 to 49. They also represent a wide range of professions which include an air steward, a professor, students, and an air medic, among more. Two Qingdao Ambassadors will be on board the Qingdao yacht during each of the eight race legs.

Chen Jie, 41, from Beijing, has a master’s degree and works for BMW in China. Chen is an experienced dinghy sailor and has competed in many domestic sailing events. She says:

“I have really enjoyed the Clipper Race training. From Levels 1 to 4, the offshore training has been excellent and we’ve had great skippers leading us and crew to train alongside. Sailing is not only about enjoying the sport, but also to learn and understand how you get on with other people and nature, and learning to respect others.

“There are so many things I am looking forward to on my race: meeting people from all different walks of life, seeing how much potential I have and how well I will manage myself. This training has given us a good foundation and prepared us for all the responsibilities we will have on board as a team, because I think all of us on Qingdao want to have a good race together.”

All 650 Clipper Race crew complete the same rigorous training, which is designed to prepare them for the relentless challenges they will face as teams battle each other and the elements. Training includes learning the ropes, winch handling, racing techniques and tactics, safety and survival at sea, boat management, watch systems, weather routing and navigation.

Each level of training is physically and mentally challenging and aims to develop seamanship, competence and build an individual’s confidence in an authentic race-style setting to prepare them ahead of the unique challenge.

The twelve-strong race fleet of Clipper 70 yachts will arrive to a spectacular welcome in Qingdao at the end of the Asia Pacific Leg from Australia in March 2016.

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