An extraordinary adventurer
5 April 2023
"The ocean is an essential school"
Maud Fontenoy, you are an exceptional adventurer and sailor. Tell us about your journey.
I grew up on the Ocean, embarked by my parents just a few days after my birth. I spent more time at sea than on dry land.
When you live your early years away from it all, with your brothers and parents in the middle of the ocean, how do you find your place in society?
This life on the Ocean has been an incredible opportunity: as I often say as part of my commitment as Ambassador for Sea Education to the Ministry of National Education: the ocean is an essential school. We learn in particular perseverance, rigor, a taste for effort, risk management, solidarity ...
Why did you decide to go paddling the North Atlantic alone and without assistance in 2003, then two years later that of the Pacific?
I wanted to demonstrate that we could have dreams bigger than us. I learned that happiness is not necessarily comfortable.
You have spent more time at sea than on land in your life ... What do you think of when you are faced with immensity, without seeing for long months anything other than an endless horizon?
It's a return to basics. Dispossessed of everything, one feels rich in this dispossession. And it is not a matter of heavy hands, but a question of will. This is what I wanted to show women through these first women!
How did you stay motivated every day?
The secrets of motivation lie in the message that we want to convey.
You give lectures on this subject and advise companies. What are your intervention themes?
Surpassing oneself is my favorite theme, and it applies to many areas that are close to my heart, such as sustainable development, education, but also innovation, and France Maritime, the blue economy, which is the future of our country.
If you had the chance, what would you do to change the world?
The urgency is to preserve our oceans.
We live in the most beautiful of museums and yet we are, it must be admitted, the worst of conservatives.
There are many reasons to believe in it, however, and maritime stakeholders more than ever ready to do battle. So, if we are able to send a robot to Mars, it seems essential to me that tomorrow, together we decide to devote ourselves urgently to better understanding and better preserving these expanses, treasures as captivating as they are essential.
"Dispossessed of everything, we feel rich in this dispossession."
If you could time travel, what advice would you give to the child that you were?
It's going to be fine, don't worry and never forget that we are right in the face of obstacles!