2007 Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro: Tactics to the fore in the first leg
At 15 hours, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent will be at the helm of Domaine du Mont d'Arbois to cross the starting line of the 2007 Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro, along with an impressive field of around 50 in this Figaro Bénéteau circuit race. The first stage goes from Caen in France to Crosshaven in Ireland, and with only slight winds forecast, it promises to be a tactical battle.

The stage

This is the most coastal of the stages, stretching over some 415 miles, and the clement weather conditions and east-north-easterly wind should enable the competitors to get up to the English coast in one tack. Nevertheless, by the time that the skippers find themselves along the British coast, the winds will have died down which will force them to navigate using all their tactical nous, trying to find the gusts while battling the strong currents which may force some skippers to drop anchor to avoid being pulled backwards. This could mean that the field is stretched apart with gaps forming between the competitors. Sylvain Mondon from the French Meteorological Office "Météo France" has gone so far to describe this as a "race of attrition. Any competitor who fails to use a new gust of wind forming could find him or herself going backwards in the standings."

Moments before the off, Thierry Duprey Du Vorsent spoke to us of his enthusiasm and his eagerness to get under way in this legendary event:

"Even if the end result wasn't that impressive, I'm happy with the testing we did during the prologue last Sunday. Compared with the Trophée BPE which was a real baptism of fire for me as a single-handed Figaro sailor, I can relate to the distance I've covered and that reassures me ahead of the race. I've got better at manoeuvring and setting up the boat, and when it came down to pure speed against some tough opposition, I was pleased to see that I could hold my own. This stage will be very tough due to the weather. The most difficult part will be along the English coast, where we will have to be on our guard throughout and be able to react to the conditions all the time. I'd better get a little bit of sleep in coming out of Cotentin Point after Barfleur, because after that, I doubt whether I'll get another chance. Not that matters though – if the weather is good, it'll be a gorgeous night with a full moon … I'm really looking forward to getting under way!"

Standings after the prologue:

1st – Frédéric Duthil on Distinxion in 2hr 12'41''

2nd – Gildas Morvan on Cercle Vert, 01'42'' behind

3rd – Franck Le Gal on Lenze, 02'19'' behind

36th – Thierry Duprey du Vorsent on Domaine du Mont d'Arbois, 17'04'' behind
Seventh out of 14 among the rookies

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