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Two Canadian women and their bold transatlantic crossing dreams

by Mary Ormsby on 18 Jan 2011
One Girl’s Ocean Challenge Guy Perrin
Alone on the high seas. By choice.

The route: across the Atlantic Ocean. The engine: girl power.

Montreal’s Mylène Paquette will pull more than 5,000 kilometres in a tricked-out rowboat — yup, the kind with two oars and no motor — from Gaspé, Que. to Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, this summer.

Toronto’s Diane Reid will race, solo, in a small sailboat stripped down to bare-bones communication and navigation instruments — as in sextant, pencil and paper — from France to Brazil.

This is about the time to wonder: 'Holy Magellan, are they insane?'

'The short answer is yes, probably,' says Reid, 38, who will be the first Canadian woman to compete in the France-to-Brazil Mini Transat in 2013.

'There’s got to be an element of crazy in there to be so involved in something with so many risks.'

Paquette, who started rowing four years ago, says her father was so angry when she told him of her new passion he refused to speak to her for a few days.

Reid, whose 6.5-metre Zero is called One Girl’s Ocean Challenge, was raised in a boating family, and says sailing offers thrills that she just can’t get on land.

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