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Pure Ocean Challenge - Veteran offshore sailor taking ocean action

by Robin Clegg 29 May 2021 09:57 BST 13 June 2021
Route Saint-Pierre Lorient Pure Ocean Challenge © Jean Christophe

Jean-Pierre Dick, a four-time Transat Jacques-Vabre winner, will be taking part in the Pure Ocean Challenge next month, starting in St Pierre and Miquelon, off the east coast of Canada, finishing in Lorient, France.

Last year on board the JP54 - Ville de Nice, he won the first edition of the race, completing the crossing in just over eight and a half days. This beat the time set by French sailing legend Eric Tabarly, in 1987, by over a day and a half, despite the boat losing a rudder early in the crossing.

But his involvement in the offshore event came about through another passion - raising awareness of the need for marine conservation. And this year he'll also be collecting data for scientific ocean studies.

Jean-Pierre Dick said: "Growing up in Nice, I had the Mediterranean on my doorstep and was always fascinated by the sea. I started sailing when I was young and have fond memories of nature's rich biodiversity, like the time I saw killer whales off Corsica.

"I was also aware of the increasing amounts of visible pollution. Later, as an offshore sailor, I learned a lot more about sea life and the need to protect it and wanted to pass on my experience to encourage other people to join me in taking action.

"Following a chance meeting with Pure Ocean founder David Sussmann we decided to create the Route St Pierre Lorient - Pure Ocean Challenge

"There is only so much that I can do on my own to raise awareness so working with Pure Ocean is a perfect fit. My profile and experience, combined with their resources, are helping fund a number of global scientific studies."

Crew for the latest record attempt include two professionals and four amateurs who will train in the West Indies before heading up to the start line, with the aim of setting off around June 13th, depending on weather conditions.

Jean-Pierre added: "Whilst I have a goal of beating the previous record for the crossing we are also advancing science and will release marine drifter buoys in strategic locations to improve our understanding of ocean health and contribute to one of Pure Ocean's science projects off the east coast of Canada, in the Labrador Sea, a region critical for climate regulation.

"The amount of biodiversity and natural phenomenon we will see during the whole crossing is truly breathtaking. We may encounter icebergs around the area where the Labrador and Gulf Stream mix and pass by oxygen-producing plankton. We are all concerned about marine health and these projects help us understand and encourage people to take action to improve it."

Following the crossing, Jean-Pierre will service the boat before heading back to the Mediteranean for Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. In Nice, an event will be held, in collaboration with Pure Ocean, at which Jean-Pierre will present some of the findings from the trip to a wide range of stakeholders. After the Rolex Middle Sea Race, around Sicily, the JP54 will be delivered back to the West Indies for the 2022 regatta season and then another Pure Ocean Challenge.

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