Monday, February 18, 2013

J/24 Sailor Fourth In Vendee Globe Race

J/24 sailor- Jean-Pierre Dick- in Vendee Globe sailing Virbac-Paprec 3 (Les Sables d'Olonne, France)- This one happens to be an amazing story of a remarkable guy.  Frenchman Jean-Pierre Dick sailing the massively fast and huge Open 60 called VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 finished the Vendée Globe 2012-2013 with no keel, and took fourth place in this amazing event. Several J/24 sailors in the UK and Europe competed against Jean-Pierre at many J/24 events in Europe in the 1990s, and they remember some very competitive tussles with "JP" particularly at the French SPI OUEST Regatta that is sailed in La Trinite sur Mer, France every Easter Holiday weekend.

It's been a long journey from the around-the-buoys, bashing and crashing around the race-track on J/24s  to skippering these extremely fast, all-carbon, water-ballasted, swing-keel speedsters-- the modern incarnation of the "ocean greyhounds of old."  Fresh off the press at the Vendee Globe site is great insight into Jean-Pierre's remarkable competitiveness, camaraderie with friends and sailors (notably starting with the J/24 class) and amazing display of seamanship to simply finish the race:

Open 60 Virbac-Paprec with J/24 sailor Jean-Pierre Dick"French skipper Jean-Pierre Dick (a.k.a. "JP") crossed the finish line off Les Sables d'Olonne this afternoon at 15hrs 5mins and 40 seconds UTC/GMT to finish fourth in the Vendée Globe, the famous solo nonstop around the world race. His third participation has yielded his best ever result, despite having to race the final 2,650 nm without a keel on his IMOCA Open 60 Virbac-Paprec 3. JP's elapsed time for course is 86 days, 3 hours, 3 minutes and 40 seconds. He finishes 8d and 47m behind race winner François Gabart (MACIF).

JP's average speed for the theoretical course of 24,393 nm is calculated to be 11.8 knots. In reality he sailed 27,734 nm on the water at an actual average speed of 13.4 knots.

Jean-Pierre Dick sailing Virbac-Paprec 3 in Vendee Globe RaceDouble-winner of the two-handed Barcelona World Race and three-times winner of the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre, JP was one of the possible favourites to win the Vendée Globe but in the end had to give up his third place position he was holding when his keel snapped off on 21st January. He fought on to the finish after making a 48 hours stop in the north of Spain to let a strong low pressure system pass to receive a warm welcome today back in Les Sables d'Olonne.

His finish in Les Sables d'Olonne put a full stop to one of the most engaging stories of this edition Vendée Globe. As he sailed to fourth place JP's race revealed an inspiring mix of human fortitude and endeavour, sporting excellence and technical achievement.

JP was on the hunt, lying in third place and still doggedly chasing the two leaders, François Gabart (MACIF) and Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) who were nearly 400 miles ahead when his Virbac-Paprec 3 lost its keel at 2245hrs UTC on January 21st some 500 miles NW of the Cape Verde Islands.

To make the finish JP has sailed some 2,650 nm – a record - without the essential appendage which balances the boat against the force of the wind. It was a passage during which he lived life on a knife edge, constantly vigilant to make sure his IMOCA Open 60 was not knocked over. To sit out the worst of a low pressure system over the Bay of Biscay, JP made a short 48 hours stop on the Galician coast, mooring in Saint Cyprian between 0430hrs UTC January 31st and restarting in light winds on the morning of February 1st at 0720hrs UTC.

Jean-Pierre Dick sailing Virbac-Paprec 3 in Vendee Globe raceUntil the accident effectively robbed him of third place on the podium, the French skipper who is originally from Nice, was one of the key players in the race. On the descent of the Atlantic he was in the top 5 at the Canary Islands. Then, just as he also lead during the 2008-9 Vendée Globe, JP took the lead and between the Agulhas gate and the Cape of Good Hope he was at the top of the rankings six times, leading the Vendée Globe fleet past the Cape of Good Hope. From there a pattern is set to Cape Leeuwin and beyond with a leading trio becoming well established, François Gabart, Armel Le Cléac'h and the skipper of Virbac-Paprec 3. But in the Pacific, JP lacked the power of key headsails because of damage to the head hook high up on the mast and he loses progressively more on Gabart. At one point he is 687 miles behind. But after several mast climbs to fix his problem he comes back strongly on the approach to Cape Horn, more than halving the deficit. On the ascent of the South Atlantic he got to within 100 miles of the leading duo just as their race-defining split took place.

For JP, this fourth place is his best Vendée Globe finish yet. He finished sixth in 2004-5, arriving with no power, and in 2008-9 he had to retire into New Zealand after suffering rudder damage due to a unidentified floating object.

JP relaxing on deck of Virbac-Paprec 3- getting ready to race Vendee GlobeBy comparison with the Breton 'inner circle' JP was a late starter to IMOCA Open 60 racing, and is not really a graduate of their traditional passage through the Figaro solo circuit. Instead, he arrived through sailing J/24s competitively in Europe, he won in the crewed Tour de France a Voile race. A qualified veterinarian with a masters business degree and years of a professional executive career under his belt before he turned to ocean racing, JP is a rigorous, thorough sailor who trains long and hard and embraces science and technology in every aspect, human and technical.

JP has become renowned as something of a specialist in two-handed races. His best solo result remains his third in the 2006 Route du Rhum. JP has a reputation in the sport for being a tough, hard working gentleman who is supported by highly competent team.  Read the report of Jean-Pierre’s experience
For more Vendee Globe and JP/VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 sailing information

Summary of Jean-Pierre Dick's VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 Vendee Globe race:
  • Greatest distance covered in 24 hours: Virbac-Paprec 3 covered the second greatest distance over 24 hours in this edition of the Vendée Globe clocking up 517.23 miles on 10th December. Average speed: 21.6 knots.
  • Speed/ distance covered on the water: 13,4 knots/27 734 miles
  • Number of rankings as leader (5 rankings per day): 6 times
  • Les Sables – Equator: 11d 00hrs 25mins (record held by Jean Le Cam since 2004-2005 race with a time of 10d 11hrs 28mins)
  • Equator – Good Hope: 12d 02hrs 40mins (leading the fleet at that point)
  • Good Hope – Cape Leeuwin: 12 d 13hrs25 mins
  • Cape Leeuwin – Cape Horn: 18d 00hrs 12mins (new record)
  • Cape Horn – Equator: 14d 5h 30mins
  • Equator – Les Sables d'Olonne: 18d 5h 3mins
JP's Career highlights:
  • 2011 - JP elected French Sailor of the Year
  • 2011 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Jérémie Beyou)
  • 2010- 2011 Winner of the Barcelona World Race (with Loïck Peyron)
  • 2010 4th in the Route du Rhum
  • 2007-2008 Winner of the Barcelona World Race (with Damian Foxall)
  • 2006 Route du Rhum, 3rd
  • 2005 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Loïck Peyron)
  • 2004-2005 Vendée Globe, 6th
  • 2003 Winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Nicolas Abiven)
  • 2001 Winner of the Tour de France Sailing Race