Maud Fontenoy on her westabout global challenge is about to round Cape Horn 8/12/06

French yachtswoman Maud Fontenoy who’s currently following in the footsteps of Dee Caffari by sailing in a westabout direction against prevailing wind, non-stop around the world is about to pass Cape Horn.

Twenty-nine year-old Fontenoy, who was the first woman to cross the North Atlantic and the Pacific in a rowing boat, set off on her L’oreal-sponsored global sailing challenge in October –
54 days ago – from the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

This morning just 35 miles to the east of the Horn Fontenoy aboard L’Oréal Paris described the situation on the radio earlier today: “I can just make out a piece of land. I’m at the southern extremity of South America, a jagged coastline dotted with islands. I feel extremely happy and a little proud to be here. I’m thinking about all the sailors that have passed this way before me. I’ve dreamt of this moment a lot over the past two months and today, I’m here. ”

With some useful advice on the radio chat this morning Philippe Monnet, one of her predecessors on this route against the winds and currents said: “Be careful. Don’t climb too far up to the right close to the coast after the Horn as the conditions there are very bad. When I did that on the course from New-York – San Francisco, I was labouring around there for ages.”

The conditions on the approach to Cape Horn are, according to Richard Silvani from Météo France, will get worse throughout the day. Chatting about the forecast Silvani said: “?the current wind of 15 to 25 knots, will continue to freshen until tomorrow lunch time and will shift round to the west-north-west providing conditions hard on the wind. After Cape Horn there will be 6 metre waves.”