Francis Joyon completes around-the-world boat race in record 40 days

PARIS -- French skipper Francis Joyon smashed the record for the fastest sail around the world by more than four days when he won the Jules Verne Trophy on Thursday.

Joyon and teammates Clement Surtel, Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Gwenole Gahinet and Sebastien Audigane crossed the finish line off the French island of Ouessant just before 9 a.m. local time in their maxi trimaran Idec Sport.

They took 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds.

The previous record was 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds in 2012 by Frenchman Loick Peyron.

Joyon averaged 26.85 knots, the equivalent of almost 31 mph, over 26,412 miles, also improving six intermediate records during the journey. By comparison, Peyron sailed 29,002 miles at an average speed of 26.51 knots.

Relief was Joyon's first thought at the finish, he said in a radio message, as they spent the final night in rough seas.

"It's the result of long years of work," Joyon said. "The sea was very tough. The boat was being banged around. We could not rest at all. The night was very hectic."

Idec Sport was launched in 2006 and enjoyed a successful career before Joyon took over as skipper, winning the last two editions of the Route du Rhum and holding the Jules Verne record from 2010 to 2012.

The 60-year-old Joyon also held the record for the fastest single-handed circumnavigation from 2008 to 2016 before Thomas Coville improved his mark in December.

The Jules Verne Trophy is open to any type of boat, without restriction, and takes skippers around the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn.