François Gabart: French sailor slashes around the world solo record
When I read this article, it took me right back to my time as a ten year-old when I lived in a fishing village in Berwickshire whose lifeline was the sea. In Eyemouth, everybody was connected to the harbour in some way. We all knew, or were related to, somebody on one of the Seine-netters that made Eyemouth such a busy place.
This is why we admired the achievement of Francis Chichester so much. He sailed around the world single-handed in his yacht, Gypsy Moth IV. It took him 266 days. We watched him cross the line as he sailed into Plymouth. A few days later, he sailed up the Thames to Greenwich and was deservedly knighted by the Her Majesty The Queen.
At the time, which was before man stepped onto the moon, Sir Francis’s escapade was phenomenal. Now, even though the technology of seamanship has evolved beyond all recognition, it puts François Gabart‘s voyage in perspective. What he has done, against the elements, is truly amazing!
Original post: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-42383438
A French sailor has set a new world record for the fastest solo round-the-world navigation, beating the previous time by more than six days.
François Gabart finished his circuit of the globe early on Sunday, in a time of 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds.
He completed the journey non-stop, confined to his trimaran sailing yacht since 4 November.
Gabart broke the record set by his countryman Thomas Coville last year.
The record was held at one stage by British national Dame Ellen MacArthur.
Gabart’s new record has yet to be verified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which will check the ship’s GPS data before confirming the result.
As a reminder, here is what I witnessed 42 years ago.
On 27 August 1966 Chichester sailed his ketch Gipsy Moth IV from Plymouth in the United Kingdom and returned there after 226 days of sailing on 28 May 1967, having circumnavigated the globe, with one stop (in Sydney). By doing so, he became the first person to achieve a true circumnavigation of the world solo from West to East via the great Capes. The voyage was also a race against the clock, as Chichester wanted to beat the typical times achieved by the fastest fully crewed clipper ships during the heyday of commercial sail in the 19th century (the first recorded solo circumnavigation of the globe was achieved by Joshua Slocum in 1898 but it took him three years with numerous stops – Slocum also took up the harder challenge of sailing east to west, against the prevailing wind).