The Atlantic crossing's story

 

Last news on Wednesday 1st march.

 

The departure of Raphaëla was on Friday 25th february in front of the Espadon Hotel in Saly (80 km south of Dakar).

The people of Saly and the all staff from Espadon Hotel meeted to encourage Raphaëla for her Atlantic crossing.

 

The first 3 days of navigation were quite difficult for Raphaëla. The wind was quite strong and she had to fight against sea-sickness during two days.

Her position is now south West of Dakar and her purpose is to make long navigation during the day in order to arrive to the alizean winds.

The meteorological previsions show a wind under 20 km/h until Friday.

Raphaëla told us that she met some aquatic friends like dolphins or flying fishes that accompany her road.

She also made a strange encounter with a little squale while she was setting her rig on her board. But it just passed by, alright.

 

Raphaëla is now on her way towards the capverdian islands and we wish her a good trip.

Last news on Thursday 2 march.

 

Meteorological conditions are quite the same than yesterday so it is not so easy for Raphaëla to make her way towards alizean winds.

But we all know about her tenacity to catch the wind.

The PC Crossing is in place to give courage and smile to Raphaëla.

The sun seems to make an apparition today which is good for her.

 

This morning was planified a meeting with some of the sponsors implied in this operation (Beuchat watches, Regional Council of Bretagne, CGU France, Espadon hotel, SCAC-Delmas and Vuarnet).

 

A summary has been done about everything published in the national and regional press.

Some photos of the preparation and the departure were available. And even TV canals broadcasted images of Raphaëla in Saly.

 

Last news on Saturday 4 march.

 

Raphaëla: a tough first week

As she was leaving the nice beaches of Espadon hotel at Saly in Senegal, on Friday, 25th of February (10H19 GMT), Raphaëla immediately dealt with a strong North wind (power 5).

She had to spend her first two nights drifting with her floating anchor, and avoided successfully the many cargoes, Russian fishing boats and even pirogues (without light!) that frequent the area, in a short and broken sea. She also suffered sea sickness and this did not help her very much to move toward the west, as she was pushed by a strong south stream below the planned road.

For the last four days, a nice weather came back and provided her with good conditions to catch some sleep, and to eat decent meals. However, the weak wind (north, power 1 — 2) did not give her a lot of speed and she progressed by more or less 25 miles on each day.

The next days are expected to see an inclination of the wind North/East, a wind that should reach power 3. Her road has expanded and with a stream that is getting progressively inclined South/West, she should meet the original one within the next 8 days.

 

Last news on Monday 6 march.

 

Until last Friday, the very weak wind did not help much Raphaëla toward the West but meteorological’s previsions for the next two days show an improvement. The wind (growing from power 3 to 4) is getting oriented South/West and should allow a much better way for progression.

Her position today at 8 :00 a.m. (Paris time) is 11° 00 N / 21° 12 W.

Raphaëla described to us on Saturday’s evening her encounter with a group of orcs that stayed respectfully at distance. She said: "You feel very little face to such big animals…" "I do not know if they saw me! I do not make much noise."

The coming week is going to be very important for Raphaëla and we wish her a lot of courage and determination. She receives your many testimonies of friendship days after days and finds them very comforting.

 

Last news on Tuesday 7 march.

 

On Monday, Raphaëla was able to travel 49 milles. She was also successful in recovering some latitude as she made her way toward the West. She used her biggest sail (6.60m2) in a wind power 3 — 4, sometimes at 5.

Her position today at 8 :30 a. m. is 10° 51 N / 22° 03 W. There is still a small stream that pushes her South / West (around 5 milles for the night), but it should turn into the right direction when Raphaëla crosses the 25° méridian. And if current conditions remain the same, this could occur in three days.

She keeps very vigilant when she rigs, and a full operation takes between 45 to 60 minutes.

The sea was a bit stronger as well on Monday and she had some water during the night inside the board: her bubble was opened a little. Nothing serious occurred.

With today’s meteorological previsions, we expect a wind power 3 - 4. Raphaëla is going to make the best of it to navigate as much as possible, and to escape from a depression in Guinea that brings a very weak wind along the African coasts.

Objective West !

Last news on Wednesday 8 march.

 

The next three days are going to be tough ones for Raphaëla’s mind and nerves.

She was upset yesterday about her little progress toward the planned road and by the bad meteorological conditions in which she navigates: at noon, and during three hours, the wind vanished completely.

But she made 40 milles yesterday between 6H00 GMT and 6H00 GMT under such bad conditions. Her position in the morning was 10° 56’ N / 22° 42’ W. She still moved 8 — 10 milles milles South / West during the night.

Weather forecasts are not that good neither: for today, tomorrow and on Friday, the wind should be very weak (power 2 — 3), and should vanish completely once in a while.

What is happening ?

The trade wind between Dakar and Cap-Vert is weakening, mainly due to the interaction between two centers of depression. The first one is localized West of Maroc’s coasts, and the second one is on Guinea. These depressions disrupt the trade wind Raphaëla is trying to catch. They are related to the Azores anticyclone which is currently over France. This is a meteorological anomality, as we usually expect bad weather in March on France. Hopefully, the bad weather should come in a few days over France.

Your support and your encouragements are more than ever appreciated. She needs patience, one of sailors’top virtue, to do the maximum everyday.

She expect to cross the 24° or 25° W, where she can catch the trade wind and the stream that go West : the much desired freeway! Her current target is to cross the 24° W before the end of this week. If it goes well, it will have taken her 14 days from Saly. About her speed, there is no point to extend her current average speed over the distance between the 17° and 24°: she should be much faster after the 24°.

Patience and courage!

 

Last news on Thursday 9 march.

 

Raphaëla managed to cover 40 milles in 8 hours yesterday but today, as expected, meteorological conditions are not favorable.

Her position at 8 :45 a. m. was 10° 48’ N / 23° 22’ W. She made 428 milles (close to 800 km) since her departure at Saly in Senegal.

She told us yesterday evening how bad she felt about making so many efforts for such small results. Her hope is to catch the right stream and benefit from a consistent and favorable wind, power 3 — 5, at the 25° meridian.

It is a tough job to move away from the weak winds that cover the whole area. Literally, the world is upside down : there is a North / West wind (originated N / W) power 2, at Dakar, while it is not stronger than 3 at Cap Vert, and we find a nice weather in France thanks to the Azores anticyclone over the country, when it should be over the Azores Islands.

Everyday, we receive messages of encouragement and of admiration. Raphaëla needs patience more than ever. We know that Guy Saillard has a small surprise in reserve for her next week, which will be how to progress during the night while she is asleep…but she first need to reach the 25° meridian.

 

 

 

Last news on Friday 10 march.

 

Raphaëla managed to cover 33 milles yesterday with a very weak wind: she did a great job under such bad conditions.

Her position in the morning was 10° 43’ N / 23° 57’ W.

We know that trade winds are present, from 5° North to 20° North, over 1600 km to Guadeloupe. But the depression over Guinea is very disruptive as it starts moving West, and could threaten Raphaëla. We expect however the situation to improve starting Tuesday.

Raphaëla has a tough week-end ahead : forecasts for Saturday’s wind are North, power 2 — 3. Sunday and Monday mornings see almost a total absence of wind.

Tuesday’s wind should be N / E, power 2 — 3.

Raphaëla described herself as a " specialist of small weather."

The headquarter " PC Course ", Guy Saillard, Françoise Lecourtois, Alain Pichavant and the whole family of Raphaëla are backing her up to improve her moral.

Your testimonies through e-mail and telephone are forwarded everyday and bring her a lot of comfort. Keep showing it as she receives them daily.

 

 

 

Last news on Monday 13 march.

 

Raphaëla’s progression is still slow and tough with the weak North wind she has been experiencing for several days.

Two roads are crossing in the area and, even if there is less traffic than along the African coasts, she sometimes has strong emotions when she faces cargoes she can not hear, coming out of the fogg sometimes less than 1 mille away.

Her position at 8:50 a. m. was : 10° 15’ N / 25° 17’ W.

Our road planner, Guy Saillard, has good news about the weather for the next days. It might improve earlier than expected, as the wind hole over the Guinea golf might move East tomorrow, freeing the way to the much desired trade winds.

Raphaëla talked to him this morning and is getting ready to make good use of such drastic improvement in natural conditions.

However, she still needs courage and patience, and the PC Course is providing some of it through your messages : friends, colleagues, schools… understood how hard it is to progress in a no wind situation and showed their admiration for her courage and tenacity. She even received a message from an admirator in Argentina who knows her well.

 

 

Last news on Tuesday 14 march.

Monday, as expected, was a very calm day without wind and Raphaëla repaired a few things, organized others, and read a lot : " I finished a book on Christopher Columbus and I am starting another one on how the West was won. " she told us.

Her position this morning was : 9° 58’ N / 25° 28’ W.

Our hopes are focused on Tuesday which should see a little improvement : N / E wind with power 2 — 3. Wednesday and Thursday’s forecasts are similar ones, but it is difficult to take those for granted. We hope to have more significant improvements to come.

As an example, we know for sure that trade winds are just a little further ahead. Raphaëla is currently in a sas between the bad area currently over Dakar and the trade winds. Another point is the come back of some winds in the channel between Canaries Islands and Cap Vert. This should generate better navigation conditions.

Raphaëla still needs to progress West as much as she can to avoid drifting too much South / West. The area she needs to get out is localized 25° / 27° W. Normally, the stream should move completely West in the coming days.

Finally, we learned from a trusted source that candles were lighted in the cathedral of Dakar to send some wind back. What more can be done? We thank you for your encouragements and underline again how much Raphaëla appreciates your daily messages.

 

 

Last news on Wednesday 15 march.

We had good news from Raphaëla when she called at 8:50 a. m. today.

She drifted favourably during the night by 11 milles West, and only by 2 small milles South. But the best news is she has wind for the day!

We are confident that her moral went up, and that her smile is coming back as well.

Her position this morning was : 9° 57’ N / 26° 05’ W

Yesterday, she welcomed the visit of two dolphins. The mammals danced around the board and entertained her for a while. As expected, there was almost no wind (power 1) but she managed to navigate during 8 and a half hours for a 30 milles progression. She wore the harness for two hours only.

With last night’s experience, we know now that the streams are getting into the right direction. Raphaëla will benefit from them while she is asleep. Let’s talk about paradise! And Sunday is a full moon! An tale from the surrounding islands talks about stronger winds with full moons… Raphaëla, winds and waves are yours to catch!

 

 

Last news on Monday 20 march.

The quiet weather is still here and Raphaela goes on her slow trip to the west.

There has been some news for 2 days : after the unconditional back up of the Race headquarters she’s got the support of seabream which seem decided to join her for a good part of the trip.

They are fishes nearly one meter long with blue and silver reflections when they are swimming. To get some food, there is nothing easier : they jump out of water on the flying fishes playing around.

When she makes a description of the animals she meets, Raphaela takes straight away her professional tone and the fine regard of the vet in observation.

She misses nothing and we are to complete her observations by surfing on the web or reading some books.

As far as the weather is concerned, it is quite, is threatening good for the days coming.

A depression coming from the North Scotland, the south specially the " anticyclone " above France.

However the anticyclone can’t leave too quickly, or it is limited by 2 depressions :

  • One located in the east of NY, south " Terre Neuve "
  • The other in the South-west of the " Açores ".

 

Fortunately Raphaëla is not here, because of the size of the zone.

Bad weather is to be foreseen in the middle of next week.

As a result, the "isobar " 1015 " comes down to the 15 parallel.

Be brave and preserves, Raphaëla ! The end of the tunnel is not so far away !

 

 

Last news on Tuesday 21 march.

There was still small weather yesterday but with it got a bit stronger at the end of the day.

The sea begins to be more agitated, that means there will be wind soon, sailors confirm it.

The heat was less strong than Sunday and the sun still rises in the mist.

Raphaëla is planning do sail by night a bit because the moon is currently nearly at its full and very bright.

This weather forecast of this morning seems to be a bit more optimistic.

The north west wind power (2-3) today and will be stronger during the night.

Tomorrow Wednesday : North East power 4, Thursday North East power 4-5, Friday North East power 4-5.

In more you have the stream courant and the wind, should be cover nearly 24 miles a day to Raphaëla.

The alizeans way is there, 5°N au 20°N and 20°W au 45°W. Raphaëla is on the middle of the road so she is on the good way.

 

Good luck !!!!

Last news on Wednesday 22 march.

Once again, the wind didn’t exceed 5 knots yesterday. The weather forecast is obviously a few hours late but then again, even TGVs (high speed trains) can be late !

Guy Saillard has confirmed the forecast taken this very morning at 10.00 am between 10° and 30° N wind from North East 10 to 15 knots and in the same zone wind from North East 15 knots for Thursday.

Raphaëla is trying to take photos of the seabream which are accompanying her but this isn’t easy waiting for the seabream with hanging onto a wishbone to catch a breath of air which will help her to go forward, makes the challenge all the more difficult.

Raphaëla’s position this morning at 10 h 15 : 9°52’N /29°24’W.

She was able to take advantage of a western stream current of about 8 miles, non negligeable.

It can be said that this crossing hasn’t exactly been simple but with the wind that has been forecast, the second part of the crossing should be a little bit more easy-going.

Let’s once again wish Raphaëla all the best for the rest……

 

Last news on Tuesday 28 march.

Meteorological forecasts this morning show a North, slightly N-E wind on Raphaëla’s area, knots 15, maybe 20 on its eastern part. The isobar 1015 is localized close by 10° / 15° and is expected to stay there. This could guarantee consistent trade winds.

On Monday, March 27th, at 20:20 GMT, Raphaëla’s position was: 9° 55' N / 33° 15' W.

We are aware that Raphaëla does not fully benefit from the trade winds yet, as winds on Monday were inconstant and not very powerful. She needs to determine everyday what sail is most appropriate to rig. She plays it safe in this transitory phase as she is also managing her fatigue accumulated during one month under tough conditions.

Raphaëla is also losing company. Animals are slowly disappearing and she has not seen sea breams for the last two days. She still meets some petrels and jellyfishes, but she touches the latter with her eyes only.

The PC Course is organizing an supply of food off Cayenne (by 10° N / 45° W). Raphaëla set this mid-term objective to optimise her progression. She currently benefits as much as possible from the favourable drift generated by both wind, waves and stream.

Thank you for your letters and encouragements. More news to come.

 

Last news on Thursday 30 march.

 

At 00:30 today Thursday, March 30th, Raphaëla was at 9° 55' N / 35° 05' W.

Today’s and tomorrow’s forecasts are showing the same N / E wind at 15 knots.

Raphaëla needs to stay at 10° N to avoid a depression area off the Amazonian river could bring down the wind.

Wednesday’s navigation was under a grey sky and Raphaëla has been feeling the cold after 5:00 p.m.

The PC Course organized with her yesterday evening the menus for the necessary food supply.

Keep going, Raphaëla. Courage and Tenacity!

 

 

Last news on Friday 31 march.

Raphaëla was this night at 36° 18’ W / 9°59’ N. She progressed by 59 mille yesterday.

With the exception of a few birds, she did not see any new animals.

But her moral is up, thanks to the improved navigation conditions… and so is PC Course’s : " We are much better know ! ". The wind power 3 — 4 is well established and is expected to last at least today and tomorrow. It might rotate a little N / N-E on Saturday.

Raphaëla told us testerday evening that she saw the sun! The first time since her departure ! We hope she is going to enjoy sunrises and sunsets in the next days.

The PC Course receives your messages daily : it has been receiving them for the last 35 days, since Raphaëla’s departure, and we can only tell you again how important they are.

The Défi Atlantic Team and all the friends are collecting the food for the supply which is planned between the 10th and the 16th of April. Cereal bars, couscous, paëlla, bananas… are part of the diet.

Last news on Saturday 1 april.

Raphaëla told us that Friday was a sunny day with a little wind. She also told us she did not meet aquatic animals anymore. Well, it is not true anymore: she had quite an encounter yesterday!

She was surprised by a huge jet of water by the board. She first thought it was a group of flying fishes. It was in fact a brown whale with a big fin on the top that was swimming around her. The whale remained at a distance of 50 meters. Raphaëla jumped to catch… her camera to take some pictures. The whale finally dived under the board to vanish completely.

Her position this morning at 9H00 GMT was 10° 05' N / 37° 13' W.

Raphaëla has still 430 milles to go to reach the supply point established at 10° N / 45° W. Meteorological forecasts for today show a North East wind at 15 knots, that may increase to 20 knots by tomorrow.

Sunday’s increase of wind can be explained by a depression over north Portugal. The depression sends some South / South East wind on France and creates a North wind stream (30 knots) along Portugal’s coasts and to Dakar. It could have effects in the middle of the ocean.

We received this morning a very impressive set of drawings made by the children of the school of Pénestin, Raphaëla’s village. Big thanks for her to all the artists. We will show the drawings to Raphaëla in Guyana.

 

 

Last news on Monday 3 april.

Rapha‘la is dealing with tough conditions. She navigated with a wind power 5 that accelerated to 6 once in a while. The fatigue accumulated for the last 38 days makes it hard for her to sail with powerful wind. Her position this morning at 9H15 GMT was 10¡ 06' N / 39¡ 12' W. Rapha‘la navigated for 60 milles in the last 24 hours : she keeps going. Meteorological forecasts for today show a North / Est wind at 20 knots. It should stay between 15 to 20 knots tomorrow, weakening as time goes. On the rest of the week, forecasts show a persistance of North / Est wind at 15 knots, at the border of a very large anticyclone under the Azores islands, and over the Atlantic Ocean. Rapha‘la is on isobare 1015. She met a cargo yesterday at 13 :00 (local time) and was able to establish a VHF contact to avoid a collision. The cargo, through a brief exchange of messages, wrote Rapha‘laÕs position and modified its direction to pursue its road. Rapaha‘la needs a lot of courage to reach the rendez-vous with DŽfi Atlantic staff. She can however cool down if she needs, as she has a little advance on her road map.

 

 

 

Last news on Tuesday 4 april.

Raphaëla is still going through tough times. The tremendous efforts she made at her beginnings used a lot of energy and she decided to cool down a little. She expects to gain back some mental and physical strength.

On Monday, she took a vacation day. She read, listened to some music, and wrote… No more than 4 or 5 hours of navigation are planned for today.

Her position this morning was 10°N / 39°56W.

Meteorological conditions forecast a North wind at 20 knots today and tomorrow. It should decrease to 15 knots starting tomorrow evening. Raphaëla still experiences a rough sea with 2.5 to 3 meters differences.

She met another cargo at 1:00 p.m. on Monday.

Raphaëla talked directly to different people in the past days.

On Thursday, March 30th, she talked to Josselin de Rohan, Senator, President of Brittany Regional Council, and to Peggy Bouchet. Peggy is the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by row.

On last Saturday, it was with Fred Beauchêne, for the "Premier Festival de l’Extrême" (first extreme festival) at Carroz - d’Aräches in Haute Savoie. Fred crossed the Atlantic on a windsurf board in tandem in 1985.

This morning, she talked to Gérard D’Aboville who came to PC Course Défi Atlantique at the "Maison de la Bretagne" in Paris. Gérard is the first man to cross the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans rowing.

Every time we talk to her, she tells us how important your messages are to keep going.

Whether it is by mail or directly on the phone, be assured it is very much appreciated. Keep supporting her by showing it daily.

 

 

 

Last news on Wednesday 5 april.

Wednesday is day number 41 for Raphaëla.

Her position this morning was 10°03 N., 40°38 W.

She navigated during 5 hours, and covered 60 Milles in the last 24 hours.

The rough sea (2 - 3 meters differences) makes it hard to rig and unrig but it does not disrupt her sleep at night.

Meteorological conditions forecast today a North wind at 20 knots going down to 15. It is typical of trade winds, with power 4 - 5.

Road planner Guy Saillard is surprised by the extreme regularity Raphaëla shows in following the 1° parallel : she goes straight on, which is rarely the case. Congratulation for such a good job!

The rendezvous for the food supply is next week. Knorr prepared a lot of spiced meals for Raphaëla.

Her moral is better as she is getting closer. She even starts seeing herself in a large and flying dress to celebrate her arrival!

At 1:30 p.m., Raphaëla talked on France Inter, at the end of the news, in a magazine dedicated to the adventurous people.

She explained to Bruno Peyron (famous French sailor) all the little reparations she had to do on the board by executing what Guy Saillard tells her. She added how surprised she was because it worked just fine.

As usual, the communication was excellent, and we could hear her voice from the middle of the Ocean, so close and so far away at the same time.

Last news on Thursday 6 april.

Day number 42.

Her position this morning was 10°01 N. / 42°10W.

She made 62 Milles in the last 24 hours.

Meteorological conditions forecast North trade winds at 20 knots, in the same rough sea for today and tomorrow.

The wind should go down a little at the end of the week. It should grow back in power fast, to settle between 15 to 20 knots all the way up to Martinique.

Guy Saillard encouraged Raphaëla to keep doing what she does. He also advised her also to manage her resistance well.

At PC Course, we are enthusiastic in finishing the preparation of the supply planned for next week. The menus are almost exclusively made of lyophilised food (with the exception of olive oil!). We are adding some t-shirts, a new watch Beuchat, and solar cream tubes Decleor to doll herself up a little. Beware of the fishes!

Send her your encouragements by e-mail… We will transmit them.

Talk to you tomorrow.

 

Last news on Friday 7 april.

 

Day number 43.

Her position this morning was 10°01N / 43°11W.

She made 62 Milles in the last 24 hours.

On Thursday, Raphaëla had a lot of fun during 6 hours of optimal navigation. She was navigating on a deep, blue sea, and she had an amazing, a wonderful sunset!!!

She met a bird that saluted her. It was close to a brown sea mew. Maybe it was a young seagull. If you can figure it out, help us on that…

Today at 12:15 a.m., Raphaëla had a surprise during her call to PC Course in the person of Emmanuel Coindre. Emmanuel just crossed the Atlantic by hydro cycle between Les Canaries and Les Barbades. He came to encourage her and to exchange some feelings on those privileged moments one can live by living an adventure.

They both agreed on the importance friends, family, and people in general represent.

"They are the engines in tough times.", said Emmanuel.

Congratulations to them, and to their peers who share with us some of their dreams, and some of their courage, in brief, some of their passion.

Have a good week-end and see you on Monday for fresh news.

 

 

Last news on Monday 10 april.

Day number 46.

Her position this morning was 9°31N / 45°10W.

She navigated 6 hours yesterday. Current conditions show winds at 10 knots, the swell is 1 to 1.5 meters high.

There is now a 4 hours jetlag with Raphaëla.

We are all focused on the food supply and the rendezvous in the middle of the Ocean.

Raphaëla has some company in sea breams that surround the board in a parade.

After the supply, meteorological conditions forecast a favourable stream and a wind power 3 up to Martinique.

Have a great day at sea. More news to come.

 

 

Last news on Tuesday 11 april.

Day number 47.

Her position this morning was 9°39N - 46°11W.

On Monday, Raphaëla had a vacation day, thanks to the decrease of wind power to nothing. She read Sinoé, l’Egyptien and arranged a few things: she made a parasol by using a rag to gain some protection against the sun.

Raphaëla saw 2 fishing boats and established a V.H.S. contact with one of them, from Venezuela.

The food supply should take place today, with a wind at 10 — 15 knots, and with a swell of 1.5 meters.

 

 

Last news on Wednesday 12 april.

Day number 48.

Her position this morning was 9°58 N - 47°11 W.

Raphaëla was met by French patrol boat "La Fougueuse" for the supply.

She was ok and more than ever focused to keep navigating. The operation took place with a 3 meters swell and lasted a few hours. It was fast.

She appreciated the Knorr products, and spent the afternoon to store and organize everything aboard. She also looked for her sunglasses, and for her new watch Beuchat.

She has to deal with humidity now as she experienced some rain last night. On Wednesday morning, the sun was shining again and the sea was fine. Raphaëla decided to take it easy to manage her strength.

Have a great day and keep posted for more news.

 

Last news on Friday, April 21st 2000 

Day number 57 for Raphaëla.

Her position this morning was 11°47’N - 58°25’ W.

Raphaëla navigated 7 hours yesterday in ideal conditions. She described the calm sea, the fine wind… It was just perfect. The biggest sail (6m60) was rigged and it gave her wings all day long. 

She met a brown bird on the board. The size of a pigeon, but thinner, with a black skullcap and a curious tail, it was identified as a “labbe parasite” by Augustin, one of Raphaëla’s brothers, and a bird connoisseur.

This bird has an interesting story: it is known as the pirate of the seas. It has a gracious fly with powerful accelerations. It chases other birds to force them to drop their prey, which he catches in fly.

Major fear also for Raphaëla yesterday. When she opened the front case of the board, she noticed a small, black animal running on a sail. Horrified, she shacked the sail over the sea, and “it” fell… But she does not dare anymore to open the case, in fear to see an armada of little black paws.

Meteorological forecasts are excellent for the next two days. Martinique is at 250 nautical milles.  She is expected to arrive in port at Fort de France on Easter’s Monday. 

“Bateaux” magazine offers you a chat with Raphaëla on Tuesday 25th at 5:00 p.m. on www.newsfam.com web site, community pages, and at 7:00 p.m. on the home page of www.spray.fr . You can ask questions already by connecting on one site.

Today is D - 3 with a smaller question mark.


 

Last news on Saturday, April 22nd, 2000.
Today is the 58th day

D-day – 2

Raphaëla’s position at 7:00 GMT is 12°05’N – 59°32’ W

Today was tough. Raphaëla navigated during 6 hours with a difficult weather : grey sky, rain, and a stream that pushed her South. 

Worried, she asked for advice from Guy Saillart. 
They talked over the phone and the road planner agreed it was an anomaly. He encouraged her not to fight against it but to go full West instead. The idea is to get out of the stream as fast as possible.

In late afternoon, she had to change the cable maintaining the « safran » that broke again.

Her moral went up again when she received the encouragements from Paris,  Médicis’ schoolchilden, that visited Défi Atlantic’s headquarters. They have been following the project since October and know the adventure very well. They unveiled a big poster with « Bravo, tu as gagné ! » (« Congratulations, you did it ! ») in blue, along with many drawings of Raphaëla on her board, lighthouse surrounded by hearts, orcs, jellyfishes, a sailor with a bag full of food… The drawings cover the walls of PC Course at « Maison de la Bretagne » in Paris.

Meteo for today is good, with an East Wind at 15 knots. 
The land is getting closer and closer : the challenge is almost won… We are all expecting her… Raphaëla, you have done it ! YOU HAVE DONE IT ! 

News on Monday, April 24th 2000
Today is the day: Raphaëla did it! 
She arrived at 11:55 local time, on Easter’s Monday, at “Pointe Cherri ” near Diamant, South of Martinique.

She is the first woman to have crossed the Atlantic Ocean alone on a windsurf board. She made her dream come true in 60 days of navigation! 

After a night near Sainte Lucie Island, she finished the last 20 nautical milles to reach Diamant. The sky was grey, and the sea was calm with a little wind.

At 11:00 a.m., a catamaran with friends and family members welcomed her with a lot of demonstration of joy, with applauses, horn… Other boards and boats came to escort her to the arrival.

50 meters away, she dropped the sail that slowly fell on the water and raised her arms, smiling. Guy Saillard met her with the Zodiac and anchored the board. He took the sail over to the pontoon. Raphaëla was sited on the board and was looking at the ones who came to see her. 

She came on board and finally landed. Under the applauses, she walked a little and was embraced and kissed by the ones who came to welcome her.

Raphaëla did it! “ C'est MAGNIFIQUE ! ” 

BRAVO !

6 days before she turns 40, she won her challenge.