French sailor Charles Caudrelier will again lead a Chinese-backed campaign in the Volvo Ocean Race starting next year after Dongfeng Motor Group confirmed on Monday its return as a full team sponsor.
Caudrelier, 42, skippered the Dongfeng team to third place overall in the last edition of the round-the-world race in 2014-15.
That was seen as exceeding expectations for a team that included several Chinese crew members with no previous offshore sailing experience.
“We are back to continue the beautiful story we started in 2014,” Caudrelier said on Monday.
“Our dream is to win the race and we have a great chance. This time, we’re not starting a project from scratch and I have time, funding, and a team that is already used to working together, and trusting each other.”
The 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante, Spain on October 22 and will finish in The Hague, the Netherlands, in July 2018. Along the way, the teams will cover at least 45,000 nautical miles (83,000 kilometres) and visit 11 cities.
The race recently announced new rules to encourage mixed teams and Caudrelier said he was testing out female sailors.
“It’s part of the sport,” he said. “We have to go and find the best women sailors and that’s a process I’ve already started now.”