Boardsailor completes record voyage


JUNE 15 — It took a French woman two months to boardsail solo and unassisted across the Indian Ocean.

On June 8 Raphaëla le Gouvello, who is 45, crossed the finish line at Reunion Island, located in the southern Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, according to information on her Web site . Le Gouvello sailed a custom 25-foot sailboard 4,075 miles from Exmouth, in Western Australia, to the island. She made the passage in 60 days — 10 to 15 fewer days than she had originally expected.

Le Gouvello received a message from Jacques Chirac, president of France, in response to her record-setting voyage. “You are the first person to have crossed the Indian Ocean on a surfboard, and I am delighted to send you my most sincere congratulations and express my admiration at this exploit,” Chirac wrote.

Once on land the seasoned boardsailor told family members that crossing the Indian Ocean was the most difficult of her passages, a news report says, and said that she would not attempt to cross any more oceans or seas. Le Gouvello in 2000 crossed the Atlantic in 58 days. She also crossed the Mediterranean (2002) and the Pacific (2003). She has been boardsailing since 1976.

—Jason Fell