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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 09:06 GMT
Joyon smashes sailing mark
Francis Joyon
Frenchman Francis Joyon has become the first person to sail solo around the world in less than 80 days.

The 47-year-old completed his gruelling non-stop journey in his 90 foot trimaran IDEC in 72 days, 22 hours and 22 seconds.

Joyon, who set off in November, smashed fellow Frenchman's Michel Desjoyeaux previous record by a massive 20 days.

The voyage, which finished off Joyon's native Brittany on Tuesday, saw the Frenchman clock up 26,000 miles.

Joyon battled against exhaustion as he navigated his way around difficult conditions at Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean.

The Frenchman was also not deflected from his course when his boat was damaged after it collided with debris.

The trimaran used by Joyon would normally take a crew of 10 to manage it.

He has driven that boat like a man possessed
British solo sailing legend Sir Chay Blyth
Briton Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who took 312 days to complete the challenge in 1968-69, was quick to praise Joyon's feat.

"It is a magnificent achievement, not just of stamina and strength, but of mental determination," Sir Robin said.

"Joyon has reduced the solo non-stop record by some 20% - that is quite incredible."

It is widely predicted that Joyon's record will not be bettered for some time.

British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur, who launched her new trimaran last month, was considering a tilt at the solo round-the-world record.

But fellow British sailor Tracy Edwards said Joyon's new mark has raised standards in the sport considerably.

"Joyon has shown what this new breed of boat can do and has now laid down the gauntlet for Ellen," said Edwards, who skippered the first all female crew in the 1989 Whitbread round the world race.

"He has now made the time exciting and challenging once again.

"It is an exciting time for the sport and records will no doubt continue to fall."

The BBC's Allan Little
"A feat of breathtaking and audacious seamanship

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