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Fontenoy, Maud 1977-

Fontenoy, Maud 1977-


Born September 7, 1977.


Agent—Laurence Dacoury, Blanco Negro Agency, 10 bis rue Lucien Voilin, 92800 Puteaux, France. E-mail—[email protected]


Worked as the supervisor of an estate agency. Founding chair of a French sailing and traditional rowing federation; founder of an association that teaches disadvantaged children; Nicholas Hulot Foundation, ambassador for Défi pour la terre.


French Society of Explorers.


Across the Savage Sea: The First Woman to Row across the North Atlantic (originally published in France as Atlantique face nord), translated by Martin Sokolinsky, Arcade (New York, NY), 2004.

Challenging the Pacific: The First Woman to Row the Kon-Tiki Route (originally published in France as Pacifique à mains nues), Arcade (New York, NY), 2005.


Author, adventurer, and rower Maud Fontenoy first went to sea when she was only seven days old, setting out on her family's schooner. For the next fifteen years, she spent the majority of her life aboard that fifty-five-foot boat. Well schooled in the ways of the ocean, she set out to make her own mark on the history of the endless waves. In 2003, at the age of twenty-five, Fontenoy became the first woman in history to row solo across the North Atlantic, a feat she recounts in her book Across the Savage Sea: The First Woman to Row across the North Atlantic. Fontenoy relates all that went into preparing for and performing that first west-to-east crossing. Under difficult conditions, she had to provide the muscle power to propel the boat across the water. Despite the effort, the dangers, the lonely days and nights, and the inevitable pain and exhaustion, she successfully completed her goal. In her account of the trip, Fontenoy "writes with a vividness and immediacy that truly brings the reader into the boat with her," commented Booklist reviewer Danise Hoover.

A scant two years later, Fontenoy again became a record-setter as the first woman to row the Kon-Tiki route from Peru to the Marquesas in Polynesia, a trip first undertaken by famed explorer Thor Heyerdahl. She relates this story in Challenging the Pacific: The First Woman to Row the Kon-Tiki Route. In her account of her solo journey, she describes the rigors of the physical act of constant rowing and the implacable effects of sun and weather. Other challenges included the threat of pirates and sharks, and the psychological effects of loneliness. An injury early in the trip caused her some difficulty, and recurring tendonitis and migraine headaches added to her woes. Still, her tenacity won out and she completed the 4,400 miles in just seventy-three days. Fontenoy's "will and stamina are awe inspiring," Hoover remarked in another Booklist review. "Fontenoy writes lyrically of the beauty and power of the sea and of her struggle to reach her goal," added a Publishers Weekly contributor.



Booklist, May 15, 2005, Danise Hoover, review of Across the Savage Sea: The First Woman to Row across the North Atlantic, p. 1628; November 1, 2006, Danise Hoover, review of Challenging the Pacific: The First Woman to Row the Kon-Tiki Route, p. 15.

California Bookwatch, February, 2007, review of Challenging the Pacific.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2006, review of Challenging the Pacific, p. 937.

Publishers Weekly, September 25, 2006, review of Challenging the Pacific, p. 61.


Maud Fontenoy Home Page, (April 2, 2007).

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