Fifty-seven-year-old French ocean racer Florence Arthaud was one of ten people killed when two helicopters collided in Rioja Province, Argentina, on March 9, 2015. Arthaud and the others were part of the French TV survival show, “Dropped.”
Florence Arthaud, or Flo as she was known, was an accomplished sailor, winning the 1990 Route du Rhum, the prestigious solo Atlantic race. That year she established a new world record aboard the VLVP-design 60-foot trimaran Pierre 1er for the fastest solo crossing of the North Atlantic, beating the previous record by two days. Following that victory she became a French sports icon and an inspiration for women ocean racers worldwide. In 1997 she won the Transpac Race from LA to Hawaii aboard the 86-foot Maxi Cat Commodore Explorer with Bruno Peyron.
In her 40s, she attempted to raise money to buy Olivier de Kersauson’s maxi trimaran Sport-Elec with the hope of a round-the-world record but was unable to secure the sponsorship needed. She competed in 2004 in the double-handed Lorient to St. Barth race with Lionel Pean; in 2006 the Odyssey Cannes-Istanbul with Luc Poupon; and in 2007 the Transat with Jacques Vabre and Poupon.
A tough and gregarious, yet petite woman, she was a formidable competitor and well respected by the ocean racing community. She leaves a daughter who she had with French sailor Loïc Lingois, and many friends.