Charles has been sailing for 20 years and is described as a demanding, honest leader. Even if he prefers to talk about the team rather than himself, he is all too aware of what is expected of him. “You can’t be a leader if you aren’t determined. To push others, you have to push yourself. You have to show the direction and be clear about what you expect. But you also have to listen, even when you don’t agree and be honest when you make mistakes.”
This is the second Volvo Ocean Race for Dongfeng Race Team. At the 2014-15 edition, the boat was an underdog, with a large number of inexperienced sailors. It is now one of the favorites. “This race is very different. Last time we were not under pressure, but we learned a great deal from that race. To win, you have to keep improving the whole time. It’s a very long race and it’s demanding from a human point of view. To maintain a good team spirit, I have to make sure everyone is motivated and involved in the performance. It’s also very important that everyone respects one another and that we can talk about human problems, not just sailing.
It’s my job to choose the right people and get them to work together as a team. We have become a nice family and it’s a real pleasure to be on the water and work together. The goal is to do better than in the last race and I think we can go very far.”