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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 October, 2003, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Atlantic record for French rower
Maud Fontenoy [photo courtesy of ZEDDA photo studio]
Fontenoy spent 17 weeks at sea [photo courtesy of ZEDDA photo studio]
French oarswoman Maud Fontenoy has become the first woman to row the Atlantic from west to east.

The 25-year-old arrived in the Spanish port of La Coruna on Thursday from a group of islands off Canada after nearly four months at sea.

Her journey took six weeks longer than scheduled because of unfavourable winds.

A total of 12 women have rowed across the Atlantic from east to west, including four solo crossings.

It's like dreaming of a Prince Charming - you know that he doesn't really exist - and then the dream comes true
Maud Fontenoy
Seven men have completed solo crossings west to east.

Correspondents said Ms Fontenoy seemed in good health and spirits after the crossing in her 7.5-metre (25-foot) boat Pilot.

Whales

She set off from St Pierre and Miquelon, a French territory in the North Atlantic south of the Canadian province of Newfoundland, on 13 June.

WOMEN SOLO ATLANTIC ROWERS (EAST TO WEST)
Tori Murden (USA) - 1999
Diana Hoff (GB) - 1999-2000
Peggy Bouchet (France) - 1999-2000
Anne Quemere (France) - 2002-03

Statistics from the Ocean Rowing Society
She told journalists the 17 weeks had passed quickly and included several encounters with whales.

But she spent several sleepless nights and a worrying 24 hours off the Spanish coast before finally reaching the shore, at 0400 local time (0200 GMT).

The French Government agreed to dispatch a naval ship to protect her as she crossed busy cargo lanes during the row to shore.

"It is hard to believe that the moment that I have dreamed of for so long is finally here," she said as she approached land.

"It's like dreaming of a Prince Charming - you know that he doesn't really exist - and then the dream comes true."


SEE ALSO:
Rower returns to the ocean
10 Aug 03  |  Hereford/Worcs
Rescued rowers on dry land
09 Jun 03  |  England
Devon rower sets record
15 Jun 03  |  Devon


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