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A new trans-Atlantic record

JULY 10 -- Having passed Lizard Point off southwestern England Thursday, Frenchman Bruno Peyron and his crew of 11 aboard the 120-foot maxi catamaran Orange II set a new record for a trans-Atlantic passage.

“It’s immense joy. There are smiles on all the tired faces,” Peyron says in a news release. “It’s only normal as we have given it our all, and sometimes in life doing your utmost is a good thing. We’re focused on what is happening at the moment.”

Peyron and crew completed the 3,100-nautical-mile passage from Ambrose Light off New York to the Lizard in 4 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes, 54 seconds, the release says. Peyron’s time shaved more than nine hours off the record set in 2001 by American sailor Steve Fossett aboard his 125-foot catamaran, PlayStation. Peyron’s time had yet to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Record Council.

About halfway through the passage Orange II struck a submerged iceberg that broke one of its two rudders, according to the release. “We lost between six and eight hours with this incident with the rudder, but really it’s not that serious, even if we know we could do better and the boat deserved better,” Peyron says.

Despite the damage, Orange II averaged a reported 28 knots. Peyron also broke the 24-hour speed record, which he’d also held, covering 752 miles in that time frame.

Peyron also holds a number of other speed sailing records and, racing for the Jules Verne Trophy in 1993, became the first person to sail around the world in less than 80 days.

— Jason Fell