Frenchman Beats Solo Sailing World Record
Francois Gabart, an engineer by trade, used his skill, strategy and hard work to circumnavigate the world in record time. He crossed the finish line in 42 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds. This was well within the time necessary to beat the old record of 49 days and 3 hours that had been set by Thomas Coville in 2016. Colville was one of the first to commend Gabart for his skill and tenacity, saying "He [Gabart] is an incredible strategist."
Colville also stated that Gabart's talents were noticeable when he won the Vendee Globe, another circumnavigation race, in 2013. Gabart is the only solo record-holder who has also won a competitive circumnavigation race.
The father of two was emotional both before and after he crossed the finish line. Thirty seconds before the craft crossed the finish line, a recording showed Gabart wiping tears from his eyes as he watched the virtual finish line approach on his computer monitor. The vessel, a two-year-old MACIF maxi-trimaran with a length of 30 meters, performed very well as it cut its way through the open ocean. It only took Gabart 7 days, 15 hours and 15 minutes to cross the Pacific Ocean. He broke a record for "the longest distance covered in 24 hours." The distance was 851 miles. The weather was in Gabart's favor and he was able to reach up to 65 miles per hour at one point.
The first world record for a solo round-the-world voyage was set in 2004 by Francis Jayon, also of France. His time was 72 days and 22 hours. Ellen MacArthur of Britain beat his record in 2005 with a time of 71 days and 14 hours. This record held until Thomas Colville completed the voyage in 49 days and 3 hours, back in 2016. Many thought this record would stand for longer than one year.
Gabart's enthusiasm and talents for ocean sailing seem to match his overall work ethic and personality. A fellow engineer, Guillaume Combescure, told reporters that Gabart, "...is talented, works hard and leads each project."
The official results are still being calculated. The World Sailing Speed Council is checking the vessel's black box and verifying GPS data, but all signs point to this being a formality. To those watching Francois Gabart sail into the port at Brest, he is already a world record holder.
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