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Kite sailor turned back by the doldrums

French sailor Anne Quéméré was forced Wednesday to abandon her Adrien Challenge of crossing the Pacific in an 18-foot custom fiberglass boat powered by kite sail and without assistance, according to a recent press release.

 The vessel, named Adrien, is built of red cedar strip planking and epoxy. Built to be self-righting and unsinkable, the boat is designed with an open cockpit with a small living space aft. Powered by two kites, Quéméré left San Francisco Nov. 4. She had covered close to 2,100 miles of the projected 4,300-mile journey when she entered the Doldrums at the end of November and began to lose wind, according to the release. Last Saturday, one of her kites tore and the pulley system became permanently damaged as she was closing in on the Marquesas Archipelago. She also lost the power Wednesday morning when her four solar panels malfunctioned.

“I must take this unfortunate decision and it is one of the most difficult taken in my lifetime,” says Quéméré in the release.

Quéméré was rescued by the container ship Cap Gris-Nez, which traveled 25 hours to reach her. Because of adverse conditions, the ship could not pick up the small vessel and it had to be abandoned, according to Quéméré’s Web Site, The ship was scheduled to drop Quéméré off in Panama, where her father was to meet her and accompany her back to France.

 Quéméré is the first woman to have rowed the Atlantic Ocean both ways, solo and without assistance, and the first person to have crossed the Atlantic’s Northern route with an OceanKite, solo and without assistance. She has not announced whether she will attempt the Pacific trip at a later date.

 — Elizabeth Ellis