French windsurfer girl sets off across the Med in preparation for Pacific attempt

Thursday July 25th 2002, Author: Anne Combier, Location: Mediterranean

At 0915 Raphaela Le Gouvello set off on her trans-Mediterranean crossing by giant windsurfer.

She left Marseilles bound for Tunisia in 25 knots of wind and a choppy sea and was hoping to make 50 miles in her first day at sea which would requre to sail her craft for eight hours.

On board she carries a choice of five sails (4.2-7.4sqm) to suit different wind condition although changing sails takes around two hours... At night Raphaela erected a 2m pole from which she mounts a white flash light as a warning to other vessels. Inside her windsurfer she can sleeping and prepare freeze dried food - supplied by Knorr Bivouac. For communications she is using a handheld Iridium satellite phone.

The attempt is ultimately in preparation for Le Gouvello's 7,620 mile voyage across the Pacific from Equador to Australia via the Galapagos, Tahiti and Noumea in New Caledonia over 2003 and 2004.

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