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Pacific Sailing School 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Top Chinese sailor aims to inspire in hometown of Qingdao

by Extreme Sailing Series on 29 Apr 2017
Liu Xue is a man on a mission - 2017 Extreme Sailing Series Extreme Sailing Series
The 24-year-old, better known by his nickname Black, is back in his home city of Qingdao as the Extreme Sailing Series™ returns to China’s Olympic Sailing City for an incredible seventh time.

Black got his first taste of super-fast foiling on the global Stadium Racing tour’s GC32 catamarans in 2016 when he joined Taylor Canfield’s China One outfit, and he loved it so much that this year he’s back with his own team.

As co-skipper of wildcard crew Team Extreme, Black is out to ruffle some feathers in front of thousands of adoring fans at Act 2 Qingdao “Mazarin” Cup.

And while victory on home waters would be a welcome bonus, Black has an ulterior motive - inspiring a new generation of young sailors in China.

“I’m so happy to be back sailing with this great event in my home city,” he said. “Because the racing takes place so close to the shore everyone comes down to watch, and that’s a great opportunity to inspire children to take up sailing and dream of doing this themselves.

“Every time I sail in Qingdao I’m so proud. Everyone is watching me so there’s a certain level of pressure but I love performing in front of my own people. I want youngsters to see me and think that one day they could be doing this too.”

Despite his tender age Black is already one of China’s best-known sailors thanks to his place within Dongfeng Race Team, the Chinese-flagged syndicate that scored an impressive third place in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race.

Later this year he will be one of three Chinese racers onboard Dongfeng’s VO65 raceboat as it sets sail from Alicante, Spain, to begin the round-the-world epic once more.

The two events might be poles apart but Black is relishing the challenge of bettering himself as a sailor alongside his scratch team of Extreme Sailing Series crew mates.

“This kind of sailing is completely different to the Volvo Ocean Race – you can’t sleep on a GC32 for a start!” Black joked.

“An Extreme Sailing Series regatta is four days long and you have to push 100 per cent the entire time. The Volvo is a long race lasting nine months so you have to remain calm and know when to push hard and when to hold back.

“They might be completely different events but the Extreme Sailing Series will help me for the Volvo Ocean Race and vice versa. Whether you’re racing offshore with the Volvo Ocean Race or inshore with the Extreme Sailing Series it’s all at the top level of our sport. It all makes me a better sailor.”

Black’s Team Extreme, co-skippered by Portuguese sailor Bernado Freitas and crewed by Brits Tom Buggy, Martin Evans and Rob Partridge, might have had little time on the water together but they impressed on the opening day of Act 2, narrowly missing the podium in the last of three high-octane foiling races.
Black has high hopes for the team as they head into the second of four days of action, beginning at 14:00 local time (UTC+8).

“Yes we are a wildcard team and I only met up with my team mates for the first time ahead of yesterday’s racing, but everyone on board is very good,” he said.

“We’re young and we have a lot of experience. We trust in each other that we can all do a good job. Hopefully I can bring the team a little bit of Chinese good luck too.

“We now know what it feels like to fly so we will aim to do much better today.”
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