By Levi J Parsons
SYDNEY, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- An all Chinese sailing crew is celebrating on Sunday, after officially qualifying for one of the world's most challenging and prestigious ocean races.
The De Rucci won its place in Australia's Sydney to Hobart yacht race after completing an offshore event on the east coast of Australia Saturday evening, which was designed to test competitors night-sailing capabilities.
This will be the fourth consecutive year, the Shanghai-based Noah's sailing team has entered the famed Boxing Day event.
"This race is hailed as one of the top three off-shore events in the world sailing community," skipper Qing Dong told Xinhua.
"And we really want to challenge in this race."
After arriving in Sydney in October, the crew have been preparing with rigorous physical and tactical training ahead of the grueling ocean race.
Qing said he is full of confidence six weeks out from the event.
"We made a lot of preparations and I believe our efforts will be rewarded," he said.
A secret weapon for the De Rucci in the lead up to the race has been the help of Aussie sailing coach Ben Morrison-Jack.
With almost two decades of professional experience, the three-time America's Cup veteran has put the team through its paces and shared some local knowledge for the upcoming race.
"The experiences you gain from years of sailing is what helps you get through the situations in the Sydney to Hobart because it can throw anything up at anytime," Morrison-Jack said.
"So to cram all that learning into three months is quite difficult and it's almost impossible to be prepared for anything, but I'm just trying to teach them a lot of the basics so that when something crops up they can deal with it in the best way."
Wild winds, huge seas and cramped, cold conditions will be just a few of the challenges awaiting the crew onboard the "super-fast" TP 52, a model that Morrison-Jack said is not particularly suited to offshore racing.
"I've done a couple of Sydney to Hobarts on these boats," Morrison-Jack said.
"The interesting thing is that they are not designed to do ocean sailing, they are more designed for grand prix racing in the Mediterranean, kind of the opposite to the Sydney to Hobart."
"But that makes it more exciting and you can go faster! It's definitely more fun and more challenging to sail."