Two Frenchmen Tackle the Ocean Blue on a Custom Sailboard Built for Two

updated 07/08/1985 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/08/1985 01:00AM

Rock-climbers go to the mountain "because it's there." French sailor Thierry Caroni (far left) jokes that he and Frederic Beauchene have undertaken their current adventure—an attempt to windsurf across the Atlantic, nonstop and unescorted—for less metaphysical reasons. "There are no good movies in Paris right now," says Caroni, who hopes that the trip will also dramatically upgrade his imperfect sailboarding skills. "It is How to Windsurf in One Big Lesson."

Indeed—but the pair are not quite as rudderless as they sound. Beauchene, 30, the trip's guiding genius, windsurfed around South America's Cape Horn in 1980. Caroni, 31, twice has soloed across the Atlantic in sailboats. This time their craft is a knifelike, custom-built 24-ft. pontoon crammed with food, water, two radios, satellite navigation equipment and one berth. Day or night one man must stay on deck, says Beauchene, "because if the boat turns upside down, you need somebody outside to turn it right side up." The pair, who left Weehawken, N.J. on June 15, hope to make a landfall at Lizard Point, England-some 3,200 miles away—late this month.

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