Competitive sailors aim for the shortest distance possible. Occasionally search for favorable wind- or current patterns make for detours, but sailors don't consider wide zigzags a merit. However, as soon as Maud touched land, her team hurried to claim a total distance of 21,300 nautical miles, as opposed to WSSR's projected 12,000 nm. Maud may have covered 21,300 nm of 'sailing,' because no sailing yacht goes in a straight line, like a steam ship would, commented WSSR secr..
Maud Fontenoy leaving too many loose knots on distance claims
Posted: Mar 19, 2007 03:00 pm EDT
(TheOceans.net) Maud Fontenoy set foot on Reunion Island March 15 last week, after setting off from Reunion back on October 15, 2006 hoping to break Dee Cafaris record for solo female sailing trips around the world.
Around Antarctica is not around the World
WSSR didn't accept her goal, referring to Mauds trip as Starting in the Southern Ocean and then sailing around the Antarctic  This distance will be around 12,000 nm, the council calculated, or about half of a real Around the World voyage.
However, as soon as Maud touched land, her team hurried to claim a total distance of 21,300 nautical miles. So, what explains the huge difference between WSSRs foreseen distance and the one now claimed by Maud?
ExplorersWeb has asked both Maud and the WSSR for their input. The Sailing Speed Record organization was the first to answer:
Yes, Maud may have covered 21,300 nm of "sailing," because no sailing yacht goes in a straight line, like a steam ship would, reported WSSR secretary John Reed. The distance requirement for a RTW is the direct route distance (WSSR Rule 26a).
This is a requirement Maud and her team should be well aware of. Therefore, an explanation is yet expected from the French sailor.
In 2003, French ocean rower Maud Fontenoy set out to become the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean from west to east. After 117 days and an arduous journey, she reached her goal. In 2005 Maud also rowed across the mid-Pacific from Peru to French Polynesia, following the route of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition. But it was not a row "across the Pacific' but a "mid Pacific" row - again a difference in distance.
Changing oars for sails, Maud's current endeavor started on October 15, 2006. Fontenoy departed Reunion Island (Indian Ocean) on Board the "L'Oreal Paris," a 26m long, aluminum-hulled and carbon-masted sailing vessel. After breaking her mast a few weeks back, she completed her sail under jury rig.
Maud's current trip isn't accepted by the World Sailing Speed Record Council as a real Around the World voyage however. The council had to issue a clarification after Maud's sail (around 12,000 nm according to WSS) was claimed as an attempt on Dee Caffary's record (21,600 nautical miles - the distance of the great circle).
The WSSR Rule for Around the World - rule 26a - calls for a minimum orthodromic track distance of the vessel of at least 21,600 nautical miles (the distance of the great circle), the council stated in a press release. To achieve this it is necessary to start off Ushant or some other remote place in the Northern Hemisphere.
The current World Record for Around the World Westabout - singlehanded non-stop
Yacht: "Aviva" 72 ft Monohull.
Name: Dee Caffari (Great Britain)
Dates: 21st November 2005 to 18th May 2006.
Start time: 13: 49: 29 GMT
Finish time: 16: 55: 03 GMT
Elapsed time: 178 days 3 hours 5 minutes 34 seconds.