Skip to main content

Eight Bells: Florence Arthaud

Pioneering French sailor Florence Arthaud, 57, died this past March in a helicopter crash in Argentina along with nine others—two of them Olympic athletes—while on their way to film a reality television show.

Florence Arthaud

1957-2015

Pioneering French sailor Florence Arthaud, 57, died this past March in a helicopter crash in Argentina along with nine others—two of them Olympic athletes—while on their way to film a reality television show.

Arthaud was best known as the only woman to have won the grueling Route du Rhum transatlantic race, a feat she achieved in 1990 aboard the 60ft trimaran Groupe Pierre. Although born just outside of Paris, Arthaud grew up sailing, eventually rubbing shoulders with such sailors as the iconic Eric Tabarly, father of France’s ongoing offshore sailing craze. At one time she was also the holder of the world record for the fastest solo crossing of the Atlantic.

“I raced against and partied with Florence. She was a force and a crazy woman who lived 10 lives in her 57 years,” says Whitbread Ocean Race and America’s Cup veteran Dawn Riley, currently the executive director at the Oakcliff Sailing in Oyster Bay, New York. “It is shocking and yet somewhat appropriate that she has left us in an exotic land and a most unconventional way.”

“She broke the ground for women in ocean racing,” remembers SAIL editor Peter Nielsen. “I met her 20 years ago before a transatlantic race in which she pushed so hard that she capsized her trimaran. She was the real deal.”

Related

Rescue

Cruising: Safety Lessons Learned

It’s not often that sailors get a chance to put their rescue and MOB training to the test, rarer still that they do as quickly as newbie California sailor Khosrow “Koz” Khosravani did recently. If and when an emergency situation ever arises, though, it pays to be prepared. This ...read more

01-LEAD-'22.01.10_FALKEN-Maiden_Emma-Bow

At the Helm: Sailplans

The first thing you notice when you look at the sailplan for the Farr 65, Falken, which Mia and I recently added to the fleet here at 59-North, is the sheer number of headsails. Falken was built in 1999 as a racing boat to go around the world, and the crew would have carried the ...read more

01-PR-2-Throwing-it-Back-_©LaurensMorel

Racing Class Reunion

Where does an old VO70 go to retire? Right back to the racing circuit, apparently. This spring saw a remarkable contingent of Volvo Ocean Race one designs back on the water and duking it out on the Caribbean circuit. While it’s no surprise that some of the VO65 teams intending ...read more

05-Sailboats-moored-in-sheltered-waters-off-of-Kärrsön

Charter: Sweden

With 2,000 miles of coastline, 270,000 islands and seemingly countless bays and inlets, Sweden is truly a sailor’s paradise. One of the top sailing destinations here is the archipelago just outside the country’s second largest city Gothenburg (locally known as Göteborg), on the ...read more

fa70b13c-8eec-4c35-b30f-f89e497b469a

Crowdsourcing Age-of-Sail Weather Data

Although big, multi-million-dollar projects like the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project with their legions of PHD’s tend to grab headlines, there’s still a part of play for the “citizen scientists” of the world. Amateur birders have long contributed to an ...read more

01-LEAD-Ultime-race-Yvan-Zedda,-OC-Sport-Pen-Duick

Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred ...read more

P1-01-LEAD-018_CARYNBDAVIS_AMISTAD

Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end ...read more

Lead-2021-01-17-vue-03-34-av-tb-01

New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to ...read more