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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Nov. 15) – French adventurer Maud Fontenoy, who plans to start rowing from Peru to Tahiti in January, baptized her 25 foot boat Monday at the French government’s Overseas Ministry in Paris.

Ms. Fontenoy, the first woman to row single-handed across the North Atlantic Ocean, hopes to cover the 8,000 kilometers (4,971 miles) in slightly more than five months, arriving some time in June.

On Monday, the baptizing of her boat, named "Oceor," took place in the ministry’s gardens with several personalities present. They included TF1 television news anchor Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, French National Assembly Deputy Béatrice Vernaudon of Tahiti, Michel Paoletti, French Polynesia’s representative on the French Economic and Social Council, and Alain Fernbach, French Polynesia’s representative in Paris.

Also present were two ministers from Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin’s government—Jean-François Lamour, sports minister, and Jean-François Copé, government spokesman and the Greater Community of the Pays de Meaux, where Ms. Fontenoy is originally from.

Ms. Fontenoy plans to leave Lima on Jan. 8, following the path taken by Norwegian ethnologist and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, who, with five companions, sailed in 1947 aboard the raft Kon-Tiki. The raft covered 5,000 miles in three and a half months, running aground in the Tuamotu Archipelago.

As part of her preparations for the upcoming voyage, Ms. Fontenoy visited Tahiti last month.

November 16, 2004



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