Skip to main content

No record, but a great accomplishment

MARCH 16 -- Despite suffering a broken mast, a Frenchwoman has completed a single-handed circumnavigation against the prevailing winds and currents.

Maud Fontenoy, 29, crossed the finish line Wednesday off ReunionIsland, located in the southern Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, according to information on her Web site. Fontenoy had spent 151 days at sea aboard her 85-foot aluminum sailboat, L’Oreal.

“It’s surreal,” Fontenoy says of her journey in a news report. “Thousands of times over during the past five months I’ve looked at the map and a thousand times I’ve doubted. But I’m there…”

Fontenoy was nearly killed about a month ago, 900 miles off Australia, when her mast broke and came crashing down to the deck, news reports say. She spent four days cutting away the debris and winching the boom upright so she could continue to sail.

Last May a British woman, Dee Caffari, became the first woman to complete a non-stop and single-handed westabout circumnavigation. Fontenoy in 2003 became the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, and rowed solo across the southern Pacific in 2005.

Jason Fell