The pretty 29-year-old Frenchwoman is heading for Cape Horn on a westabout circumnavigation


The trend for ‘wrong way’ solo routes round the world has picked up speed in the last few years. The latest to have a crack it is 29-year-old Frenchwoman Maud Fontenoy, who left the Indian Ocean island of Réunion on 15 October on a voyage westabout round the Great Capes.

Maud is sailing Jean-Luc Van Heede’s 72ft aluminium cutter, designed and built for the ‘wrong way’ record he still holds, but she’s undertaking an adventure rounding the five Great Capes rather than attempting a record voyage along the traditional route.

A month into her voyage, Maud is roughly midway across the South Atlantic at 32°S to skirt a weather system, but has nevertheless been experiencing rough seas and storm force winds. She is also hobbling around with a badly broken big toe.

What’s particularly impressive about Maud is that she’s a relatively inexperienced sailor. But she clearly has what it takes in determination and resilience: her last two big ventures were across oceans in a tiny boat to become the first women to row across the Atlantic, and across the Pacific.