French sailor wins epic solo circumnavigation race

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François Gabart, sailing the 60-foot yacht Macif, crossed the Vendée Globe finish line at about 3 p.m. (French time) on Sunday — setting a new solo round-the-world record of 78 day, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds. 

At the age of 29, Gabart is the youngest winner in the history of the Vendée Globe. His time beat fellow French sailor Michel Desjoyeaux’s record by 6 days and 53 minutes. His average speed was 15.3 knots and covering 28,646.55 miles.

“When the race started, I didn't think of myself as a contender for the victory,” Gabart said on his log immediately upon crossing the finishing line. “I knew it was a possibility but that was not a goal I would think about all the time. In the Indian Ocean, I started thinking about possibly winning and when Armel (Le Cleac'h aboard 'Banque Populaire') and I started having that close fight, that regatta around the world, I realized I had a 50-percent chance of winning. And then, once we were in the Atlantic, I started believing.”

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