Windsurfer Survives 1st Pacific Crossing

A French windsurfer, Raphaela Le Gouvello, has completed the first solo crossing of the Pacific from Peru to Tahiti.

The 43-year-old arrived in Papeete Monday after traveling 4,455 miles in 89 days and seven hours, her Web Site reported. She has already completed solo crossings of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

She was escorted into Papeete harbor by a flotilla and met on the quayside by Tahitian local government leader Gaston Flosse.

“You have achieved something quite extraordinary,” he told Le Gouvello. She followed the route of the famous Kon Tiki expedition made by Thor Heyerdahl in 1947 in a papyrus vessel.

Her “home” for three months was a 7.80 meter board on which she slept. She contacted her back-up crew in Paris twice a day to report her position.

Le Gouvello completed the first crossing of the Atlantic by a woman windsurfer in 2000, taking 58 days to sail from Senegal to Martinique. Two years later she crossed the Mediterranean from Marseille to Sidi Bou Said in 10 days.


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