Who is Maud Fontenoy?

Maud Fontenoy

Maud Fontenoy is the first woman to row across the North Atlantic and the Pacific, she has also sailed around the world against prevailing currents. Spokeswoman for UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission for oceans and the World Ocean Network (Réseau Océans Mondial), this yachtswoman is also a member of the French Economic, Social and Environnemental Council and the founder of the Maud Fontenoy Foundation which oversees environnemental education initiatives. The recipient of the French National Order of Merit and the Order of Maritime Merit, she is the autor of several documentaries.


Maud was born on 7 September 1977. She was barely seven days old when she went on board the family schooner. She was to spend the first 15 years of her life on the open sea, learning all about sailing, nature and the sea.


Back in France, Maud ran a real-estate agency in Paris for a few years, but sailing remained part of her life and was never far from her thoughts. She founded the French Federation of Traditional Sailing Boats and Rowboats, of which she became president, and then founded an association that helps young people from disenfranchised backgrounds go sailing.


When she turned 25, she decided to make her dreams come true by setting sail. This was the beginning of four years of both maritime and human adventures.


In 2008, Maud established the Maud Fontenoy Foundation.  This organisation provides the means to take action. It raises awareness and educates people, especially young people, about the challenges we face to protect the deep blue sea.

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Her public appearances

Her public appearances

Maud appears regularly at conferences, seminars and round tables for both companies and institutions…

Maud’s news and publications

Maud’s news and publications

What’s new with Maud: her documentaries, publications, interviews and forthcoming projects…

Her crossings and \n round-the-world tour

Her crossings and
round-the-world tour

Maud has three female firsts to her name: first to row cross the Atlantic Ocean (2003), first to row across the Pacific Ocean (2005) and first to sail around the world against prevailing currents (2007 - see vidéo).

The Tahia

The Tahia

The Foundation sends its Little Adventurers sailing on the famous Tahia, the boat on which Maud sailed round the world against prevailing currents.