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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 05:26 GMT 06:26 UK
Adventurer beats sailing record
Cheyenne celebrations start as the crew head to Plymouth
US adventurer Steve Fossett has smashed the round-the-world sailing record by almost six days.

The 59-year-old American and his crew of 12, including two Britons, crossed the finish line on the French island of Ouessant at 1600 BST.

Their 21,760-mile journey took them around the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn during almost 59 days at sea.

The previous record of 64 days, eight hours, was set by Bruno Peyron in 2002.

Millionaire Mr Fossett and his crew returned the 125-foot catamaran Cheyenne to Plymouth just after 2200 BST on Monday to be reunited with loved ones after crossing the official start and finish line at Le Stiff lighthouse on Ouessant, near Brittany.

They set out from the port on 6 February, hoping to shave four days off the Jules Verne record, so-called after Verne's famous novel, Around the World in Eighty Days.

Everyone is just so happy, we are all emotionally drained
Steve Fossett
Mr Fossett said: "It's quite a celebration. Everybody on this crew is absolutely delighted, this is a satisfying moment for all of us.

"When we started out I thought the chance was 50-50 that we would get around. Then I wondered that the boat might not be fast enough."

Brian Thompson from Southampton, engineer Mark Featherstone from Salcombe, Devon, and Justin Slattery and Damian Foxall, both from the Irish Republic, are among the Cheyenne's multi-national crew.

Their attempt nearly ended when a failed forestay almost brought down the 143ft (45m) mast on day 16, but the crew worked for 16 hours to repair the damage and keep the attempt on course.

Mr Fossett set a trans-Atlantic sailing record in the same multi-million pound catamaran, formerly called PlayStation, in 2001.

He holds 21 world sailing records and made the first round-the-world manned balloon flight in 2002.

Once on dry land, the former businessman's next challenge is to fly non-stop around the world without refuelling in a jet plane.

Stuart Radnofsky, Fossett Challenge
"First, Steve has to get...a couple of beers and some relaxation"

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