New team for China
In just over one week, China’s 2008 Olympic Sailing City of Qingdao will welcome the fleet of Extreme 40s with the home nation entry Team Extreme Qingdao will bolster the fleet to 12 boats,
For the home-grown Chinese sailors, Liu Xue and Zhang Yiran, 2014 will be their second year competing on the circuit, following their debut with China Team in Qingdao in 2013.
Liu Xue, who also raced with China Team at the America’s Cup World Series in 2013, spoke of the importance of events such as the Extreme Sailing Series, for growing the sport of sailing within China: “I’m so excited and very proud to join the Extreme Sailing Series in my hometown. I think it’s very important for China to host this international sailing event as we can gain more experience, and learn more from the competition. It’s helpful to improve the overall level of sailing in our country.”
Liu Xue and Zhang Yiran recently trialled for China’s Dongfeng Race Team for the next Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.
Five-time Olympian and Extreme 40 class creator Mitch Booth will share skippers duties with Zhang Yiran, leading the home team in front of the local crowds, alongside Nick Moloney and British multihull dinghy sailor Freddie White.
Despite his Extreme 40 pedigree, Booth is realistic about the challenge ahead: “It is really great to be back in Qingdao and racing together with Chinese crew members. The Extreme Sailing Series has jumped to a very high level this year and it will be tough to compete in what is probably the premier sailing circuit in the World today. It has been exactly one year since I raced in the Series and I’m keen to do battle with the best of the best.”
The teams will race under the shadows of the Olympic rings on a compact race course with thousands of public expected over the Chinese national holiday. The event, presented by Series Main Partner Land Rover will see teams vying for the ‘Double Star Mingren Cup’ from 1-4 May.