On Sunday Virbac-Paprec 3 will be lining up for the start of the 44th Rolex Fastnet Race. Jean-Pierre Dick will be assisted by Guillaume Le Brec as he takes on the 608-mile challenge that runs from Cowes to Plymouth via the legendary Fastnet Rock. Of the 350 boats entering the race, six are IMOCA class vessels: Virbac-Paprec 3, Cheminées Poujoulat, DCNS 1000, Hugo Boss, PRB, and Safran. His third Fastnet, Jean-Pierre tells us what's on his mind as he prepares for the starting gun.
"The Rolex Fastnet Race allows us to stay in the game as we get ready for the Transat Jacques Vabre. The IMOCA class is well-represented so it's going to be interesting. We shall be continuing our on-board tests, looking at how the sails behave in close-quarter racing conditions. We're willing to learn and change things if necessary. Conditions in the r ace should be pretty variable so we need to be in top form to handle the boat intelligently and give the race all the energy we've got.
The Rolex Fastnet Race is a legendary race! I've entered twice before and got good results. Second in 2005 and first Frenchman, fifth overall in 1987. I've nothing but great memories."
Why did you choose Guillaume Le Brec for the job of first mate?
"Guillaume sails Mini 6.50s for my team and he's an enormous talent. We've gone over the route, crunched the weather data, and he knows the boat well. He's sailed on her for deliveries and has plenty of experience on IMOCA 60s.
He's the natural choice when Jérémie Beyou, my crew for the Transat Jacques Vabre, is sailing in the Solitaire du Figaro. Jérémie's been doing great in the Figaro, he's currently leading the field! It's a good thing for the project because he's racing all the time."
And what's this about carrying a media man?
"Laurent Simon is responsible for Virbac-Paprec Sailing Team's communication and he'll be sailing with us to get an inside view of the race and send back photos, videos and reports in real time. It's a great opportunity for him to test the new equipment we've had installed. Thanks to Laurent we'll be able to concentrate on the job of sailing."