Chinese-Crewed Yacht Makes History

While the attention was on the supermaxis vying for line honours in a nail-biting Sydney to Hobart finish, not far behind Chinese entry Derucci was making its own history.

The yacht has a young crew with an average age of 24 who intend to return and hopefully bring more Chinese sailors with them.

It crossed the line in the River Derwent after more than two days at sea.

The crew said their line honours position — 21st — was the best ever achievement for an entry crewed entirely by Chinese nationals.

Skipper Qing Dong was ecstatic to be in Hobart.

“This year the weather conditions were very good for us, our team is very young, and this year we made a very good result, so it’s very happy for us,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.

Skipper Qing Dong of Derucci

Qing said about 800,000 people in China watched the race broadcast in 2016, despite China’s relatively short history in yacht racing.

“Sailing sport is becoming more and more popular in China,” he said.

“So we want to take part in the international yacht race, so it’s a very happy [time] for us.”

Helmsman Fulin Chen, who has raced all over the world, said the Sydney to Hobart was one of the toughest races he had done.

“Our average speed was 20 knots, so it was really fast, it was really good,” he said.

“We just catch waves, we kept changing sails, we kept speeds, and everybody [was] excited.”

“[Hobart] is really beautiful [and] the sailing culture is awesome.”

Helmsman Fulin Chen on Derucci the Chinese entry in the 2017

In 2016, Derucci came in 65th overall, after suffering mainsail damage at sea.

The previous year, they had been unable to finish the race, so the crew regard 2017 as “third time lucky” for the entry.

Qing said he expected sailing to boom in China.

“We think in the future, more and more Chinese boats will come to Sydney to take part in this race. We want to make big progress in the future,” he said.