French offshore sailor Jean-Pierre Dick has announced his return to monohull racing, after a period competing with multihulls, and confirmed his commercial plans for the next edition of the Vendee Globe in 2016.
Dick's new boat will be called StMichel-Virbac. Animal health specialists Virbac will continue as one of his major sponsors but will now share title rights with biscuit brand StMichel, which was previously an official partner of his sailing programme.
StMichel-Virbac will compete in the new Ocean Masters world championship, the newly-branded competition which is being commercialised by British entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills, between 2015 and 2017. The 2016 Vendee Globe, the famous solo, non-stop race around the world, will form part of the new series.
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Recycling firm Paprec, another existing Dick sponsor, will also continue to support the team during the next cycle.
"I am really glad that St Michel has given its name to the new boat together with Virbac," Dick said. "This well-known biscuit brand has been a sponsor of the project since 2005. They are keen on sailing and its values, as well as the extraordinary adventure of the Vendée Globe. I am proud to fly the colours of St Michel and its 1,200 workers. I would also like to thank Virbac and Paprec for their continuing support, which is unique in our sport."
Construction of StMichel-Virbac will begin this autumn, ahead of a launch next summer. Its first race is projected to be the Transat Jacques Vabre double-handed race, which is scheduled for November 2015.
Dick will begin his fourth Vendee Globe in November 2016.