Hot Prospect

James Boyd speaks to Jean-Pierre Dick last year's Tour Voile winner about his Vendee 2004 plans
Looking at Vendee Globe entrants over the years, a majority have like Ellen MacArthur worked their way up through the ranks of the Mini and Figaro classes then got to crew and finally skipper Open 60s. Some 'superstars' like Michel Desjoyeaux, winner of the last Vendee Globe, came from other disciplines like the Whitbread and the 60ft trimaran circuit. It is fair to say that none have come from winning the annual Tour de France a la Voile. Jean-Pierre Dick's background is very firmly in fully crewed inshore racing - about as far away as possible from singlehanded offshore or round the world racing as one could get. 36 years old, he's sailed for the last 15 years and has been national champion eight times in classes such as the Beneteau First Class 8, the JOD 24 and 35, J/24, Melges 24 and Mumm 30. In 1987 he was part of the French Admiral's Cup team. Most recently he won Key West and was Melges 24 National Champion in France in 2000 before going on to win last year's Tour Voile - a campaign which he put together and skippered. Dick's entry into the Open 60 class could not have been more impressive. Open 60s are hard to come by at the moment with two major events, the Route du Rhum and Around Alone, taking place at the end of the year. But Dick waded straight in and chartered the winning boat from the last Vendee Globe - Michel Desjoyeaux's PRB. This boat has many Desjoyeaux idiosyncracies such an accommodation area, including chart table and galley, which can be canted up to weather, a hull which is from one designer and a deck from another as well as Desjoyeaux's long C-shaped mainsheet track arrangement. But it is nonetheless the Vendee