Team Sanya (currently kicking ass to Abu Dhabi, btw) MCM Andres Soriano took some time to do a Q & A with Chinese crew member Ten Jiang He, a/k/a “Tiger,” during a lull in the action in the Indian Ocean this morning. Ian Roman photo.
TJH: People once asked a man, why do you climb mountains, and the man simply responded, because there are mountains to climb, for me it was the same with sailing. I never had any background in sailing; it just felt right and was something I wanted to do. News came out about a skipper’s license course for sailing yachts and I made a few calls and went for the training. I became a qualified Clipper yacht race skipper and was planning on doing that. Then the news came about the first Chinese team competing in the Volvo Ocean Race. I was not sure what to do, but a good friend of mine said that if there was going to be someone to represent China that it should be me, so I made a small video and sent it to Mike Sanderson, and that was it…
AS: Tell us about your background and what business you have been involved in up until now?
TJH: Before this all happened, I was a normal guy, nothing special, and I lived a very comfortable life. I traveled a lot for business but was never an ‘office guy,’ I did not like that life style.
AS: What are you planning to do after the VOR?
TJH: I have lots of plans! First and foremost is to prepare for the next Volvo Ocean Race. The team will be very beautiful, but it is very important that we build a new boat. I think that will be key!
AS: How are your family coping with you doing the race and being away for such long periods at a time?
TJH: I have had nothing but 110% support from my entire family, they are very proud.
AS: How do other Chinese people get involved in the sport of sailing?
TJH: If I had to give some advice to anyone interested in sailing especially in the Volvo Ocean Race, is that not to underestimate it. It’s not something you can just decide to do one day. It takes time, dedication and a real desire to want to be here. Proper preparation is key, it takes years of both physical and mental training, this is no joke. One must be prepared for lots of challenging times ahead and must be prepared to push themselves past what they are comfortable with. It is really is a different life.
AS: How is the race living up to your expectations so far?
TJH: There have been no surprises so far, besides having to stop in leg one. Other then that it has been great, I knew it would tough and that the race would test me. I was a little surprised of how hard we had to train physically for this, but I now understand how important it really is. If anything I am happier then I thought I would ever be out here, its great!
AS: What has been the hardest part so far?
TJH: Everything is going great, but if I had to say, English has been the hardest part, but it gets better every day the boys are really helping me.
AS: What have the best and worst parts so far?
TJH: By far the worst part has been being away from my family. That is very tough, but I know they support what I am doing.
One of the best things about this, is that I feel I have a greater passion for life and am completely satisfied, you really can’t compare it to anything else and the beauty is, that only we, the boys on the boat know it. Another great thing is the new experience of living out in the ocean, the sea birds, the dolphins and other animals, full moon nights, and star lit sky, it’s amazing. Being able to sail to new places and experience the cultures of all the different stopovers is an unbelievable opportunity as well; I truly love every aspect of this race.