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First across the Atlantic

After 12 days, 11 hours, 45 minutes – a new record time – French sailor Loick Peyron has earned his third gold in the Artemis Transat, a solo sail race across the Atlantic, according to the race press release.

Peyron sailed past the finish line in Boston at 3;15 p.m. on May 24 aboard his 60-foot yacht, Gitana Eighty, after covering the 2,982-mile course that began in Plymouth, England. Peyron stamps his name in the record books as the only sailor to win this race three times (1992/1996/2008) and now exceeds the two-time record he shared with fellow Frenchman Eric Tabarly, according to the report.

Even more impressive, Peyron managed to make up the time after rescuing fellow competitor Vincent Riou on May 20 after the keel on the fellow Frenchman’s vessel sustained major damage that forced Riou to abandon ship. Riou said he believes the keel collided with a shark. As a reward for Peyron’s efforts, the judges awarded him a 2.5 hour time allowance for the rescue.

“It was an exhausting race, especially at the end, but it was once again a fantastic battle on the water,” said Peyron in the release. “Winning this event for the third time is fantastic, considering its history and my own attachment to it. My uncle Jean-Yves Terlain raced it in 1972, I took my first start in 1984, and now almost 25 years later, I’m winning it for the third time!”

Other accomplishments include Samantha Davies, the first Briton to complete the race. Peyron and others will be honored at the Boston Harbor Hotel at 6 p.m. this evening. The Artemis Transat began in 1960 and is held every four years, sponsored by Britian’s Artemis Investment Management Limited.

- Elizabeth Ellis