French sailor breaks record for fastest solo trip around the world | News | DW | 17.12.2017
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French sailor breaks record for fastest solo trip around the world

France's Francois Gabart has broken the world record for the fastest solo sailing trip around the globe. Zipping around the world in his high-tech sailboat, he beat the previous record by six days.

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A female quota for the Volvo Ocean Race

French sailor Francois Gabart set a new record for solo sailing around the earth on Sunday, he and his team announced on social media.

Gabart managed to beat the previous record by over six days — breezing past a record that was believed to be too difficult to top.

How it happened:

  • Gabart took exactly 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds to sail solo around the world
  • After setting off on November 4, he crossed a virtual finish line between the northwestern French island of Ushant and Lizard Point in England early Sunday morning
  • The sailor beat the previous record by exactly six days, 10 hours and 23 minutes, reported French sports newspaper L'Equipe


'Think I just did it'

A jubilant Gabart posted the time he crossed the imaginary line — 0145 UTC to be exact — on Twitter along with an array of celebratory emojis.

"Think I just did it!!!" he wrote.

Gabart's team set out a few hours later to go collect the new world record holder.

Breaking records along the way

Gabart not only broke the world record, he also set several new solo sailing records along his journey, including:

  • Fastest navigation of the Pacific Ocean — 7 days, 15 hours, 15 minutes
  • Longest distance covered in 24 hours — 851 miles or 1,576 kilometers

High-tech vessel: The Frenchman sailed on a maxi-trimaran, one of the most technically advanced yachts on the market. The 30-meter (98-foot) boat boasts a larger sail area and a wider frame, which helps with navigating lighter winds, reported sailing magazine Yachting World

Joining an elite club: Gabart is the fourth person to hold the title. Fellow Frenchman Francis Joyon set the first record in 2004, completing the journey in 72 days and 22 hours. British sailor Ellen MacArthur beat the record a year later by just a day and a half. Last December another French sailor, Thomas Coville, beat MacArthur's record with a time that was largely thought too challenging to beat.

What happens next: Although an observer with the World Sailing Speed Council was present for Gabart's finish on Sunday, his boat's black box and GPS data will first need to be reviewed before he can officially claim the title.

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