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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 January 2005, 13:09 GMT
Frenchwoman seeks Pacific record
Maud Fontenoy in her rowboat
Fontenoy is making the journey in a 7m (23ft) boat
The first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean from west to east has embarked on her latest challenge.

Maud Fontenoy, 27, is seeking to become the first person to row solo across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Polynesia.

"I know I am going to have different problems, there are big storms and loneliness," she said before she left Lima on her 8,000km (5,000-mile) trip.

"But, you know, the victory will be bigger since it was difficult at the beginning," she added.

"Tahiti is just over there, it's not far after all," she remarked before leaving on her five-month journey.

Epic crossing

Ms Fontenoy set out in her scarlet boat, Oceor, from a rowing club in Lima's Callao port, as the sun was setting on Wednesday.

She intends to follow the route of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl's epic 1947 journey.

Heyerdahl and his team crossed the Pacific on a balsa raft named the Kon-Tiki, in a bid to prove the South Sea Islands could have been settled from the east.

Ms Fontenoy is hoping to complete her journey without any support vessels, although a Peruvian navy ship accompanied her on her first night of rowing to help her avoid large cargo vessels and pirates along the South American coast.

All her essentials are stored in her boat, including a satellite phone so she can keep in contact with her family and friends, a desalination unit for water, a satellite navigation system and a beacon if it all goes wrong.

However, the distances she is covering are so large, it might take 10 days for help to reach her.

In 2003, Ms Fontenoy rowed from Canada to Spain, a journey which took nearly four months.


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