Exhaustion is wearing down a 29-year-old Frenchwoman sailing solo round the world


After more than 100 days alone at sea, young French sailor Maud Fontenoy is approaching the longitude of Cape Leeuwin in Australia and the final third of her lone circumnavigation. Fontenoy, 29, is primarily an ocean rower, which makes her feat even more impressive. She set off from the island of Réunion last year on a round the world voyage through the Southern Ocean that is for personal achievement rather than an official record.

She is sailing Jean-Luc Van Den Heede’s 25m aluminium cutter Adrien, which he built and designed for the solo ‘wrong way’ record, and which he still holds, so although proven and sturdy it is quite a handful. Fontenoy admitted last week that she is exhausted and has been feeling at times as if she has reached the limits of her endurance, but still she soldiers on. In 100 days at sea, she says “practically half of them have been storms”.

Now entering her 15th week, she has covered 16,000 miles and has under 7,000 to go until she completes the voyage. There’s more on her progress, including a tracker, at www.maudfontenoy.com