Making history

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DEC. 19 — The year 2007 will go out with a bang as two intrepid sailors, Francis Joyon and Alex Thomson, break records for their respective vessels.

On Dec. 13 at around 1:16 a.m., French sailor Francis Joyon broke the single-handed 24-hour distance record in his 90-foot trimaran IDEC while crossing the Indian Ocean, according to a press release from Joyon’s team, Trimaran IDEC (i).

Joyon covered 614 nautical miles at an average speed of 25.9 knots, beating fellow Frenchman Yvan Bourgnon, who set the record in August 2006 going 610.45 nautical miles at 25.76 knots in his trimaran Brossard, according to the release. Joyon set off from France at the end of November and is currently trying to reclaim Ellen MacArthur’s record of circumnavigating the world. She topped Joyon’s record by 1 day, 8 hours, 35 minutes in February 2005. He is now on his way towards CapeLeeuwin in Western Australia.

Meanwhile, Alex Thomson and his co-skipper AndrewCape have broken the 24-hour distance record for a 60-foot monohull yacht in the Barcelona World Race aboard the Hugo Boss. From Dec. 6-7, the dynamic duo covered 499.22 nautical miles with an average speed of 20.8 knots, according to a press release from AlexThompsonracing.com. This is a far cry from last year, when Thomson was rescued from a sinking boat off Cape Town, South Africa, during the same race.

“It’s a great feeling to have set a new world record,” said Thomson in the release. “We have slowed the boat down now to take the pressure off a little. This is about winning a race and not about breaking records.”

— Elizabeth Ellis