Jean-Pierre Dick introduces Virbac-Paprec 3 crew

Virbac-Paprec 3
© B. Stichelbaut / Sea&Co
Just a month from the start of the European Pro Tour, Jean-Pierre Dick introduces his crew and the course of this race in two legs leaving from Barcelona. The first will take the crews from Barcelona to Cascais (Portugal) starting 19 May. The second, from Cascais to La Rochelle, will be a single-handed leg, enabling the skippers to cut their teeth in racing configuration, with a view to the Vendée Globe.

Would you like to introduce your crew?

JP: 'We will be five on board Virbac-Paprec 3 between Barcelona and Portugal. I chose to unite an ill-assorted crew marrying skills inside and outside the project. With a view to the Vendée Globe*, I have invited Bilou (editor's note: Roland Jourdain), since he is a pleasant man to sail with, who has valuable experience in Round-the-Worlds. Tanguy Leglatin, a trainer of many sailors, will also provide a view from outside the project. Finally, two members of my team, Jean-Yves Gau (Boat captain) and Guillaume Le Brec (sparring partner) will share the miles with me, with a view to optimizing the preparation of Virbac-Paprec 3.'

Can you tell us about the course?

JP. 'It's an interesting and technical course in the Mediterranean, which requires anticipation before passing the islands. The passage through the Strait of Gibraltar and the start in Barcelona bring back many memories of the Barcelona World Race**! I am glad to be returning. As for Portugal, I have travelled there, but I haven't yet discovered the port of Cascais by boat. There's a Virbac subsidiary over there, I am glad to have an opportunity to allow the Portuguese employees to discover Virbac-Paprec 3.'

Virbac-Paprec Sailing Team
© Alexis Courcoux

What are you expecting from the last leg single-handed?

JP. 'It is interesting because this is the only single-handed race before the Vendée Globe. It will be a real-life test and an addition to our training sessions. The goal is to sail as much as possible to prepare for the Vendée Globe. The 2,500 miles (approx. 4,630 km) between Cascais and la Rochelle via the Azores and Fastnet Rock will help me put the finishing touches to my preparation.'

* Twice winner of the Route du Rhum (2006 and 2010), second in the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2003, 2005, (three participations in the Vendée Globe, third in the Vendée Globe 2001, Solitaire du Figaro (third in 1994, sixth in 1996 and 1997, fifth in 1998).

** Four passages through the Strait of Gibraltar, in the lead, for Jean-Pierre during the two Barcelona World Race wins in 2008 (with Damian Foxall) and in 2011 (with Loïck Peyron)

The European Pro Tour in brief:

3,335 nautical miles (i.e. 6,177 km)
Leg 1 (with crew)- Barcelona - CASCAIS: 815 miles (approx. four days)
Time at 'W Hotel': Friday 18 May
Start: Saturday 19 May 2012
Finish: Wednesday 23 May 2012 (estimation)
Time at Cascais: Friday 25 May 2012

Leg 2 (single-handed) – Cascais – The Azores - Fastnet- La Rochelle: 2,520 miles (approx. 11 days)
Start: Saturday 26 May 2012
Finish: Wednesday 6 June 2012 (estimation)
Time in La Rochelle: Friday 8 June 2012

Visit JP's website for more information.