The Race Direction Team of The Transat have been informed by Jean Pierre DICK'S Project Manager, Luc TALBOURDET, that the Open 60 Virbac was rolled 360 degrees and dismasted at approximately 1830GMT yesterday evening (Friday 4.6.04).
Virbac, sailing under storm jib only was experiencing consistent 50 knots winds and 6-7m waves at the time of the incident. Jean Pierre Dick was inside the boat at the time of the incident.
Jean Pierre Dick has reported that he and the boat are safe. Luc TALBOURDET reported that Jean Pierre DICK has cut away the mast and rigging and is securing his position. The boom has been broken, the mast broken into three pieces and the cockpit cuddy has been holed but Virbac has suffered no hull damage. The structural integrity of the boat is reported as being sound - Dick is now discussing with his Shore Team the best course of action to get the boat to land. Dick's objective once the storm has passed will be to erect a jury rig from the remnants of his spars and rigging. The team, at this time, have not requested any outside assistance.
At 1830 GMT Virbac's position was 54 48.6N and 31 22.56W, since the incident Dick has been making just over 1 knot to the north-east. Virbac is approximately 490 miles from southern tip of Greenland, 620 miles from southern tip of Iceland, 750 miles from the west coast of Ireland and 900 miles from Newfoundland. Dick's most logical course of action is to turn east and head for the Irish coast.
Cheminees Poujoulat-Armor Lux (Bernard STAMM) on the same track as Virbac is expected to pass within a few miles at approximately 2300GMT. Both Riou and Stamm have been informed of Virbac's incident and position. Riou reported very violent seas whilst Stamm reported that the winds have dropped to 'only' 45-50 knots.
The Race Direction Team are in contact with Jean Pierre Dick's shore team to ensure that every action is taken to assist in the skipper's safety. Further details are available on the event website at the address below.