Frenchwoman sets out to sail 'wrong way' round world

At 1133hrs yesterday morning, French endurance rower Maud de Fontenay set off from Reunion Island to circumnavigate westabouts around the bottom of the world. see previous story 

27-year-old de Fontenay and her 26-foot monohullAdrien, sponsored by L’Oreal Paris, started her attempt under sunny skies with a 6kt sou-westerly. She originally planned set out to beat Dee Caffari’s record time with the fastest solo female westabout circumnavigation, but the WSSR said that at 15,000 her route was too short to be approved, and that her attempt could subsequently not be ratified.

The Frenchwoman has another motive though – to promote France’s off-lying islands. This is the reason why her passage will start and (hopefully) finish at Reunion, an Indian Ocean island close to Mauritius, rather than the conventional Ushant-Lizard start line used for round-the-world record atempts.

Speaking to a group of schoolchildren last month, de Fontenay spoke of her inspiration to complete the challenge: ‘You must have a dream at the bottom of your heart and believe, absolutely, in that dream.’