French sailor breaks world record for fastest solo circumnavigation

By Ray Downs  |  Dec. 17, 2017 at 9:03 PM
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Dec. 17 (UPI) -- A French sailor smashed the world record for fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe on Sunday.

François Gabart sailed around the world in 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds. His time beats the previous world record, held by fellow Frenchman Thomas Colville, by more than six days.

"I've just crossed the finish line. It's pretty crazy. It's pretty unreal. I'm a bit overwhelmed," Gabart said as his vessel arrived in the English Channel, the BBC reported. "Just now I couldn't move I was at such a loss about what to do next. I'm in the dark. There are cargo ships and fishing boats around me. It's a pretty weird atmosphere and at the same time it's pretty extraordinary...I'm proud and happy to have made this pretty voyage around the planet."

When Gabart, 34, arrived to the port city of Brest in northwestern France, his ground crew carried him to shore where they opened champagne to celebrate, France 24 reported.

"I'm aching all over and it's been like that for weeks, weeks since a proper sleep -- I can hardly go on," he said. "It was hard and I was on the very edge of things the whole time."

Sunday's achievement marks the second time Gabart broke a sailing world record.

In 2013, he won the Vendee Globe round-the-world solo yacht race in record time by completing it in 78 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds. That time also broke the previous record, set in 2009, by six days.

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