With his gangly build, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent was predisposed towards middle-distance or long-distance running, but the confines of the running track were too restrictive for this nature-lover, whose interests include rock-climbing, mountain-biking, skiing, canoeing, mountaineering… Even Paris was too small for this aficionado of wide open spaces, and it was initially the mountains which best met his requirements: Annecy offered a wide range of activities and allowed him to work in such diverse sectors as gardening, decoration and forest maintenance… For the job he did mattered little to young Thierry, as long as it allowed him to discover new landscapes and experiences, and encounter other outdoor enthusiasts. But one day, by dint of his constant crisscrossing of the mountains and valleys, he took a first foray onto the waters of Lake Annecy and, wham! He was instantly hooked by this environment in perpetual motion and these boats that allow you to sail beyond the horizon …
Thierry Duprey du Vorsent then moved to Cancale in Brittany to concentrate on his new passion. And so much did he enjoy it that he passed all his sailing instructor exams before spending three years working at Cancale sailing school. There, a few stone throws from Saint-Malo, the sailing town that hosts the famous Route du Rhum every four years, the sailor clocked up the miles, embarked on numerous ocean forays and alternated between training and intensive practice.
Immersed in the ocean
As vast as the oceans are, they could not sate the thirst of this late convert to sailing, as he spent spells preparing charter boats, making deliveries and carrying out winter repair work, getting to know such diverse waters as the Antilles, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Baltic in the process. Thierry Duprey du Vorsent sailed the length and breadth of the world's oceans, acquiring a wealth of experience, until being bitten by the multihull bug in 1998 while working on the ex-Elf Aquitaine. On arrival in Guadeloupe, the trimaran was bought by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, who promptly put Thierry in charge of his latest purchase. Renamed Gitana IX, it was the first multihull in the stable's major series of yachts and the new boat captain soon had an opportunity to cut his racing teeth, during the Transat Québec-Saint Malo 2000, then on the Jacques Vabre in 2001 with François Denis. Thierry proceeded to sail with Marc Guillemot and prepared his boat for the Route du Rhum 2002 and the Transat Jacques Vabre 2003. When Marc was named skipper of Gitana X in 2004, he joined the Gitana Team alongside him as boat captain and crewman. Last season, he took the helm of a boat he knew inside out for a new challenge with a crew of young sailors, enjoying a fine campaign and finishing fourth in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Erwan Le Roux.
This year, on the ex-Bonduelle thoroughly remodelled and optimised last winter, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent has had the chance to command Gitana 12 and despite some early-season trials and tribulations, has achieved his goals of getting a young crew sailing, making progress with the passing rounds and preparing for the Route du Rhum. Motivated, trained by Loick Peyron, and with the benefit of his experience acquired over more than a decade, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent is in Saint-Malo with the primary aim of making the crossing without technical problems, by way of thanks to the owner and the entire technical team that have supported him on what is his first solo multihull event.
Guadeloupe or bust
The race? "Setting out all alone on slightly madcap machines for 10 to 20 days at sea … It's a human and sporting challenge that has always fascinated me! Unfortunately, today, the race is somewhat formatted in terms of boat classes and sizes, but in the early editions of the Route du Rhum, everyone set off in totally open yachts… That was real adventure! As soon as I moved to Cancale, only a few kilometres from Saint-Malo, there was no question about it: I just had to take part."
The preparation? "In a race like the Route de Rhum, the reliability of the equipment is essential because the slightest technical concern can take on enormous dimensions. It rapidly becomes a waste of time and energy and a real physical and mental burden which disrupts one's rhythm and can even lead to the solo sailor losing touch with the race. I first and foremost needed to get some solo sailing under my belt, as I'm a novice really, so my mental preparation is basically my motivation and curiosity."
Your objectives? "I don't have any illusions about finishing high up the field! I don't know myself well enough in this particular situation of sailing solo in a trimaran… I‘m also well aware of how much more experienced than me my rivals are. I above all want to finish having pushed the boat and myself, being happy with the crossing, for me and for the entire Gitana Team. In all races, you first have to get to the start, which is not as easy as that, and only then think about finishing, which is even more complicated. The first part is accomplished, and now it's up to me to make a success of the second…”
Loick Peyron? “Being able to sail with Loick has been a big bonus for me. What struck me most was his calmness. His ability to launch the boat fast and then go inside without concerning himself any more with its operation, his relaxed way of switching from “I'm going really fast” mode to the “I'm doing something else but I'm still going really fast” mode… Being capable of setting the trimaran to go at 24-25 knots, and being able to trust in the automatic pilot, with just the pilot control unit in his hand! He also has a very particular way of adjusting the sails when sailing on pilot or as soon as it gets a bit hot! I realised that I was sailing solo as if there was a crew and Loick allowed me to readjust so as not to be outpaced by the machine! Because everything goes very fast on these trimarans… The configuration can evolve very rapidly and if the boat is not adjusted to be tolerant, a solo sailor can soon find himself in trouble! He helped me enormously in terms of finding the right compromise between speed and safety, and on the sequence of manoeuvres like gybing with gennaker up.”
Thierry Duprey du Vorsent sailing achievements
Gitana 12 skipper
- Grand Prix du Portugal et de Fécamp 2006 : 4ème
- Londres-Alpes Maritimes 2006 : 5ème
Gitana X skipper
- Transat Jacques Vabre 2005 : 4ème
- Grand Prix Cap l'Orient 2005 : 6ème
- Grand Prix du port de Fécamp 2005 : 6ème
- Grand Prix de Vigo 2005 : 6ème
- Grand Prix de Marseille 2005 : 7ème
- Grand Prix de Corse 2005 : 5ème
- IB-Group Challenge 2005 : 5ème
- Préparateur et boat-captain de Marc Guillemot sur Gitana X
- Québec-Saint Malo 2004 : 10ème avec Marc Guillemot sur Gitana X
- Grand Prix de La Trinité/mer 2004 : 10ème avec Marc Guillemot sur Gitana X
- Préparateur et boat-captain de Marc Guillemot sur La Trinitaine
- Grand Prix de Fécamp 2003 : 4ème avec Marc Guillemot sur La Trinitaine
- Transat en double 2002 sur l'ex-Uunet
- Grand Prix de Fécamp 2002 : 4ème avec Marc Guillemot sur La Trinitaine
- Grand Prix de Belgique 2002 : 4ème avec Alain Gautier sur Foncia
- Grand Prix de Lorient 2002 : 3ème avec Marc Guillemot sur La Trinitaine
- Transat Jacques Vabre 2001 avec François Denis sur Gitana IX
- Challenge Mondial Assistance 2001 sur Gitana IX
- Québec-Saint Malo 2000 sur Gitana IX
- Préparateur de Bob Escoffier pour la Route du Rhum 1998 (Etoile Filante)
- Convoyeur et skipper charter professionnel de 1995 à 1998
- Responsable de l'école de voile de Cancale de 1992 à 1994