Sailor Breaks Vendee Globe Record
Circumnavigation in 78 days
Francois Gabart, 29, of France has won the Vendee Globe solo sailboat race in the record time of 78 days, two hours, and 16 minutes, shattering the previous record by six days. Gabart is also the youngest winner in the history of the race, which was first run in 1989.
The annual event begins in Les Sables, France. Sailors race down the east coast of Africa, across the Indian Ocean to Australia and on to Cape Horn, then sail up the west coast of South America and back to Les Sables. This works out to about 24,000 nautical miles.
French sailors have won the race every year—particularly impressive considering that only 100 people have ever finished. Breakdowns are common due to the stresses placed on the boats. This year, the fleet consisted of 20 competitors from five different countries.