Paddling: Painfully Close

Outside Magazine, November 1994


Paddling: Painfully Close
By Todd Balf (with Jim Hage)


"We're disappointed but we're not devastated," said a spokesman for French kayaker Mathieu Morverand, who on August 14 abandoned his solo voyage across the North Atlantic a mere 170 miles from the French port city of Brest. Exhausted and disoriented from a week and a half of battling severe headwinds and stormy seas, the 22-year-old Morverand, who set the English Channel kayaking speed record in 1989, had paddled some 3,000 miles in 79 days. Three days after leaving Provincetown, Massachusetts, Morverand's two-way radio failed, isolating him aboard his 24-foot vessel. The extreme solitude, he said, proved "overwhelming." Still, Morverand's friends expect him to take another shot at the crossing, which has never been accomplished in a kayak without a sailing rig.

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