Sailing: Peyron signals his intentions

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With a thrilling display of pace and power, the defending title holder, Loick Peyron, swept out of Plymouth Sound yesterday at the head of the 58-strong fleet in the 10th Europe 1 singlehanded transatlantic race.

His 60ft trimaran Fuji-color reached 28 knots as he covered the 11 miles from the start to the Eddystone Lighthouse in just 23 minutes. At that rate he would halve the record of 10 days 9hr 15min set in 1988 by Philippe Poupon, but the cracking 15-knot easterly is likely to soften as he heads out into the Atlantic.

He had a lead of nearly two minutes on Laurent Bourgnon's Primagaz and over two and a half on the man the French think most likely to challenge him, Paul Vatine in Hute Normadie. Vatine overhauled France's Joyon in Banque Populaire but well back after a very conservative start was the 64-year-old Mike Birch in Biscuits La Trinitane, which, as Fleury Michon, set the 1988 record.