draft day

A high mileage car can be risky, a high mileage sailor on the other hand is a good move.

The news is out – Dongfeng’s latest draft picks – the advantage of declaring a team early – are pretty potent.

Leading the trio of sailors announced today as signed for the Chinese team Dongfeng is perhaps the most experienced VOR sailor ever and certainly the most successful, Stu Bannatyne who has joined a group of, well a group of one as no other sailor in history will have sailed in 8 Whitbreads or Volvos.

Only Bouwe Bekking and Neal McDonald are the potential other members of what is currently a unique band of sailors. Even using rough maths that accounts for over 200,000 Nautical Miles racing round the planet.

His pedigree includes three wins under Grant Dalton on NZ Endeavour, Illbruck with John Kosteki and Ericsson 4 with Torben Grael along with a near miss on Camper with skipper Chris Nicholson.

Also joining Charles Caudrelier’s bank of merry men (and likely women) is fellow Kiwi, Daryl Wislang who’s 3 laps of the planet in the VOR include sharing 2nd place with Stu on Camper and was part of Ian Walker’s winning Azzam in the last race adding the experience of a lap of the planet on a VO65.

The trio is completed by Jeremie Beyou who not many weeks ago was battling to a third place in the Vendee Globe reinforcing the short handed sailor element of the Dongfeng crew. His pedigree also speaks for itself with an amazing 3 victories in the Solitaire du Figaro and, like his skipper Caudrelier, also has a Transat Jaque Vabres win under his belt. Jeremie has over 10 years experience sailing the powerful IMOCA 60s

A dozen laps of the planet between them along with multiple ‘big race’ wins and podium finishes.

Anyone who though Dongfeng Race Team were anything less than serious about going for the top step of the podium in 2017-2018 can clearly think again as the quality of sailors that Charles is surrounding himself with already shows a very clear declaration of intent.

  – Shanghai Sailor.