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Stopover 01/12
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When everything goes wrong

Du 1 July 2018 au 31 July 2018
South-western Pacific

Actions carried out

Second solo navigation: 2400 nautical miles, 20 days steering without the auto pilot.

Summary of the stopover

Friendships get stronger after a permanence onboard, but I start to feel tired after four years of expedition. Three days before my flight from France to Wellington, my friend Stéphane Husson passes away. I fly to Wellington to start navigation again, alone. Thinking that this traverse is going to be easy, my head is somewhere else. A storm surprises me with 40 knots per hour in the sheltered port. It’s the 6th of July and it’s the Austral winter. I hardly noticed.


I set off from the bay. It’s grey outside. I find myself often navigating from within the cockpit, I have a hard time “entering” the element of this leg of the expedition. A big storm forces me off-route for two days, I start to be worried as Maewan seems to be at the limit of its capacities. The waves are snug and hit hard. The hours are long and as I leave again the wind is changing. We finally start sailing towards Polynesia with good conditions. I start imagining the end of this leg –maybe 10, 11 days of navigation?- but as I suddenly wake-up the autopilot starts to make a weird sound. Everything happens quickly: a piston breaks, something else cracks, I cannot steer anymore. All these issues are not connected but somehow they all happened at the same time. The team on land supports me, we try to fix the problem but I finally have to face reality: I cannot count on the autopilot anymore. I am more than 1000 miles away from the first island where Marion could join me to finish to navigation until Tahiti…in the meantime I am alone on Maewan with many days of navigation ahead of me.


  • Marion Courtois

    President of the Maewan association and co-leader of the expedition

  • Erwan Le Lann

    Skipper, mountain guide and co-leader of the expedition

  • Le voilier Maewan IV

    Notre camp de base nomade