Peyron clips record by eight days

In the small hours of a near moonless but starlit night yesterday, off the wild coast of his native Brittany, Bruno Peyron, for the third time, recorded the fastest circumnavigation of the planet under sail, lowering the record to 50 days 16hr 20min 4sec.

In the small hours of a near moonless but starlit night yesterday, off the wild coast of his native Brittany, Bruno Peyron, for the third time, recorded the fastest circumnavigation of the planet under sail, lowering the record to 50 days 16hr 20min 4sec.

This was the outright record for a fully crewed boat - 14 people handled the 120ft beast of a catamaran that is Orange II - and knocked over a week off the previous best of 58 days and nine hours, set a year ago by the American billionaire adventurer Steve Fossett. How the first man to take a fully crewed boat around the world under sail, Britain's Sir Francis Drake, would have marvelled.

Peyron's achievement continues France's love affair with ocean racing and record-breaking in multihulls and has its roots in the clipper ships, which charged round the world in the 19th century.

Peyron became the first to break the 80-day target, just, in 1993 and lift, for the first time, the Jules Verne Trophy. This time, fizzing home at over 30 knots, he said, was completely different as, in 1993, no one knew if it could be achieved. Now, a huge amount of work from a big and experienced team had contributed to a time which was 40 per cent faster.

As for that target of 50 days he said: "I would like to continue to live without knowing the limit. I am pleased to wake up each morning knowing we always have to improve ourselves. It's good to think of that unknown world and of exploring it."

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