Rowing: It's a French Thing

Outside magazine, September 1995


Rowing: It's a French Thing
By Todd Balf (with Martin Dugard)


As frenchman Jean Luckes shoved off from Cape Cod last June for a two- to three-month, 3,000-mile solo voyage across the North Atlantic, he was asked the inevitable question: why? After all, he'd tried a year earlier and failed. "Why sleep? Why eat?" he responded in French. "There is no other way to answer." Luckes isn't the only Gallic rower who's suffering this summer in pursuit of Gerard d'Aboville's 15-year-old transatlantic record of 72 days. Joseph LeGuen began his bid two weeks earlier, noting that he wasn't actually trying to set a record, but rather looking for "some solitude." This sort of talk, noble as it is, is beginning to wear on the U.S. Coast Guard. Swelling numbers of ocean daredevils, they say, are a growing strain on the sailing edict known as the law of common sense.

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