(Source: Vendee Globe) For several days now, third-placed Jean-Pierre Dick has been unable to use two of his headsails – his staysail and gennaker – on Virbac-Paprec 3. The part that holds the top of the sail was broken. Despite the extreme southern latitude, Jean-Pierre Dick climbed up the mast last night (French time) for a dangerous operation that lasted two hours and allowed the Nice-based skipper to replace the damaged part with a new one.
“I had been waiting for favourable weather conditions to climb up the mast for several days. It is a risky type of operation but I had no choice. You’re by yourself, there’s strong wind and a rough sea and, to top it all, it’s cold and you’re in the screaming fifties. Needless to say, you ask yourself a lot of questions before climbing up there.
“I waited until the conditions were calmer and I set Virbac-Paprec 3 running downwind to slow her down to 10 knots. Climbing up the mast and going down was quite perilous, you’re shaken right and left, I wasn’t very confident. I managed to replace the damaged part.
“I’m very happy I did it because in this part of the world, you don’t get that many opportunities to go and become an aerial acrobat. Virbac-Paprec 3’s potential is back to what it used to be, which is great news for the rest of the race.”