Around The World In 42 Days: Frenchman Sets New Sailing Record : The Two-Way François Gabart, 34, sailed his 100-foot trimaran past the virtual finish line in the English Channel on Sunday, smashing the previous record by more than six days.
NPR logo Around The World In 42 Days: Frenchman Sets New Sailing Record

Around The World In 42 Days: Frenchman Sets New Sailing Record

French skipper, François Gabart, waves aboard his 100-foot trimaran as he celebrates his world record off Brest harbor, western France, on Sunday. Thibault Camus/AP hide caption

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Thibault Camus/AP

French skipper, François Gabart, waves aboard his 100-foot trimaran as he celebrates his world record off Brest harbor, western France, on Sunday.

Thibault Camus/AP

There is a new world record for sailing solo around the world: 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds. If verified, it is more than 6 days faster than the previous record, set a year earlier.

Gabart reacts after his world record, in the Brest harbor, western France, on Sunday. Thibault Camus/AP hide caption

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Thibault Camus/AP

Gabart reacts after his world record, in the Brest harbor, western France, on Sunday.

Thibault Camus/AP

French sailor François Gabart, aboard a 100-foot trimaran, set out on Nov. 4 to break the record held by countryman Thomas Coville. On Sunday, Gabart crossed the virtual finish between France's northwest tip and Lizard Point in southwest England at 0145 GMT before turning homeward to Brest in northwestern France.

He reportedly averaged 27.2 knots (31.3 mph) over 27,859.7 nautical miles.

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Making such a journey is a difficult feat. It involves tackling the cold and stormy Southern Ocean that rings Antarctica, all the while tending a high-performance sailing vessel at the edge of its performance envelope.

After reaching Brest, Gabart, 34, said he was "aching all over."

"[It's] been like that for weeks, weeks since a proper sleep – I can hardly go on," he told reporters after making landfall at Brest.

"It was hard and I was on the very edge of things the whole time."

Exhausted or not, Gabart managed to share a bottle of champagne with his shore crew.

"It hasn't sunk in yet but I know it's a great time," he said.

Britain's Dame Ellen MacArthur won the title for fastest non-stop circumnavigation in 2005, but lost it to Francis Joyon of France. She regained it three years later.

Gabart's record must be verified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which will scrutinize his vessel's GPS data before signing off on the new record.

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