Frenchwoman ends southern hemisphere epic

14th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

SAINT-DENIS DE LA REUNION, France, March 14, 2007 (AFP) - French yachtswoman Maud Fontenoy capped her 151-day attempt to circumnavigate the southern hemisphere against the prevailing winds by crossing a virtual finish line here Wednesday.

SAINT-DENIS DE LA REUNION, France, March 14, 2007 (AFP) - French yachtswoman Maud Fontenoy capped her 151-day attempt to circumnavigate the southern hemisphere against the prevailing winds by crossing a virtual finish line here Wednesday.

Fontenoy, known previously for rowing her way solo across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, will bring her boat, 'L'Oreal Paris', into harbour on Thursday having crossed a virtual finish line at 1120 GMT.

"Super, I've done it. My heart is beating like mad!" she told AFP as she crossed the finish.

Fontenoy was accompaied by a naval squadron which blasted its horn and let off fireworks to celebrate her achievement.

Thousands of well-wishers are also expected to gather at harbourside to meet the Frenchwoman, who began her attempt on October 15, 2006.

Fontenoy, 29, will now spend the rest of her journey coasting towards the harbour at Pointe des Galets on the west coast of the island.

Speaking to AFP before crossing the finish, Fontenoy said she was delighted she had finally brought her five-month journey, which saw her lose a mast last month, to a successful end.

"It's surreal. I still can't quite believe that it's finally the end after so many testing experiences, and losing my mast on February 10," she said.

"Thousands of times during the past five months I've looked at the map and a tousand times I've doubted.

"But I'm there, or just about. I'm staying vigilant though. The wind is strong and my rigging is on its last legs."

She added: "My brave little boat saved me. It will be hard to come back on dry land."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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