Well-known or lesser known sailors, professionals or amateurs, old hands or rookies… For the past 38 years many have wanted to be at the start of the highlight event of the Figaro Bénéteau circuit, La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro. The 2007 edition follows in La Solitaire tradition as the race has 70 submitted entries to this date…and all are determined to be at the start of this legendary race that starts in Caen on 31 July.
As stipulated in the Notice of Race, the number of competitors is limited to 55, and skippers must confirm their entries before 31 May 2007.
As every year, La Solitaire will gather one of the most important fleets of monohull boats. Amongst the 70 skippers having announced their intention to take part in La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro, there are the star players of the circuit such as previous winners: Nicolas TROUSSEL (FRA), 2006; Eric DROUGLAZET (FRA), 2001; Michel DESJOYEAUX (FRA), 1992 and 1998. There are also the winners of the Rookie ranking: Christopher PRATT (FRA), 2006; Pietro D'ALI (ITA), 2005; Jean-Luc NÉLIAS (FRA), 2004, Marc EMIG (FRA), 2003. Leg winners submitting their entries include Gérald VENIARD (FRA), Gildas MORVAN (FRA), Marc THIERCELIN (FRA) and Laurent PELLECUER (FRA). And then there are the hopeful winners, Gildas MAHÉ (FRA), Jeanne GRÉGOIRE (FRA), Bertrand DE BROC (FRA), Frédéric DUTHIL (FRA), Christophe LEBAS (FRA), and many others like Raphaël DINELLI (FRA), back on the scene after having taken part in three Vendée Globe races.
Then there are the rookies: Thierry DUPREY DU VORSENT (FRA), tenth of the Route du Rhum - La Banque Postale 2006 on 60 foot multihulls; Servane ESCOFFIER (FRA), second in the Route du Rhum - La Banque Postale 2006 in monohull class 2, Frédéric RIVET (FRA), winner of the Tour de France à la Voile 2002-2004; Jean-Pierre NICOL (FRA), winner of the Tour de France à la Voile in 2006; Nicolas LUNVEN (FRA), second in the Tour de France à la Voile 2004-2005-2006; and the amateurs wishing to make a dream come true: Patrice BOUGARD (FRA), Jean François BULOT (FRA)…
There are six non-French skippers planning on being at the start of the 38th edition of La Solitaire: Antonio-Pedro DA CRUZ (CPV), D'ALI of Italy, James BIRD (GBR), Nigel KING (GBR), Paul O'RIAIN (IRL) and Liz WARDLEY (PNG).
'With our 70 submitted entries, this edition once again gathers a line up of exceptional racers, confirming the sporting merit of La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro. Without mentioning the old hands of the circuit, we come across rookies who already have considerable solo experience such as Thierry DUPREY DU VORSENT and Servane ESCOFFIER. We should also take note of the talented Nicolas LUNVEN and Frédéric RIVET, eager for revenge having just missed the Espoir Crédit Agricole selection in 2005. On the international front, Nigel KING, assured by a solid experience of offshore racing by his participation in the Volvo Ocean Race will be a rookie to keep an eye on,' commented Jacques CARAËS, Race Director.
'The 38th edition of the race is both innovative and contrasts with previous races. There are two short legs [the second and the fourth] that will be real sprints and two very long ones in the La Solitaire tradition. The second is sure to be very technical, where strategy will be more important than pure speed. The third, which it 762 miles long, is in sorts the Everest of this edition.
The 2007 edition of the race is open and at 1,876 miles long, it promises its own fair share of excitement,' explained CARAËS.
The skippers will set off from Caen on 31 July with a single aim: to win La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro 2007 and to cross the finishing line as leader in Les Sables d'Olonne in the Vendée, they will have to excel in tactics, strategy, weather analysis, but also in close contact racing between France, Ireland and Spain. The 1,876 nautical miles will take the skippers from the English Channel to the Bay of Biscay passing through the Atlantic and the Celtic Sea.