4 days to go before Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro. Start from Caen on Tuesday 31 July at 15:00 hours
In Ouistreham Bay at Caen, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent and Domaine du Mont d'Arbois will line up at the start of the 38th Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro at 15:00 hours on Tuesday 31 March. For its 2007 edition, the legendary solo event brings together a large and prestigious fleet of 50 Figaro Bénéteau class vessels. A newcomer to the event like 13 other skippers, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent is up against some formidable opponents and will need of all his humility and enthusiasm for what is the stiffest challenge of his first Figaro season.

Race history and 2007 course:

Conceived in 1970 by L'Aurore journalist Jean-Michel Barrault, the event was initially sponsored by the daily before later becoming the Solitaire du Figaro and then adding the name of its current sponsor, Afflelou, in 2003. The race's monotype nature, the presence of the top solo sailors and its openness to amateurs make it one of the most highly prized sailing events in France.

As it has done since 1970, the Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro comprises 4 stages between France, Ireland and Spain. Covering a total of 1,876 miles, the race involves 13 days at sea for the solo sailors. For the race director, Jacques Caraës, “this year's race is all about contrasts: there's a mix of coastal route, short stages that produce bona fide sprints, and one very long more ocean-going stage.”

Stage 1: Caen – Crosshaven (415 miles): start 31 July at 15:00 hrs.
Crosshaven, the oldest yacht club in the world, welcomes the race for the 3rd time, after a route taking in a long section of Southern England's coastline.

Stage 2: Crosshaven – Brest (344 miles): start 6 August.
For the second stage, the competitors will round Fastnet Lighthouse before descending towards Ouessant and then the Rade de Brest, where the stage's finish will be judged. The Solitaire has enjoyed a long friendship with the town, which dates back to 1970 and the first edition of the Course de l'Aurore.

Stage 3: Brest – La Coruna (762 miles): start 11 August.
The skippers head south bound for La Coruna in Spain: a 762-mile stage, the longest in the race's history.

Stage 4: La Coruna – Les Sables d'Olonne (355 miles).
The final positions will be judged in the Vendée, at Sables d'Olonne, after a stage spanning 355 miles. The finish will constitute an important moment for the skippers, who will complete the course of this 38th edition by taking the legendary channel from the Vendée Globe.

In accordance with the monotype rules, all the boats must meet the same technical and safety criteria and are rigorously checked before the start of the race by the chairman of the class rules committee. Domaine du Mont d'Arbois and Thierry Duprey du Vorsent came through this test successfully on 24 July.

On Sunday 29 July at 11:00, the event prologue will be held, offering a chance for all the skippers to sample the waters of Ouistreham Bay. This will be followed at 15:30 by the superb Figaro Bénéteau parade along the Ouistreham Canal, and then the Afflelou Prologue prize-giving at 17:30.

A few days before the big start of the most important race of his season, a Thierry Duprey du Vorsent mindful of the exceptional level of his competitors offers us his thoughts on the battle ahead.

With a few days to go before the race starts, I'm trying to get as much sailing as possible under my belt and use everything I learned since the BPE Trophy, especially in the Cap Istanbul, which I took part in with Kito de Pavant. In terms of targets, it's really hard to say at the moment. This is a very long, very technical and highly demanding race and I'll be up against the likes of Michel Desjoyeaux, who's already won it twice. A starting field of 50 boats is an enormous number and something I've not experienced before. It'll make it vital to take up the best possible position right from the start of the events. The most important thing will be not to lose sight of the leaders and to keep right on their tails! I'll be happy if I can finish among the best newcomers.”

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