Yachtsman breaks round-world record
A British sailor has broken the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world in any type of yacht.
Brian Thompson, 49, who is based in Southampton, was the only British crew member on board the Banque Populaire V, which completed the sprint in 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.
The 14-strong crew of the 40-metre maxi-trimaran crossed the Jules Verne Trophy finish line at Brest, France, at 10.14pm on Friday, smashing the existing record of 48 days, seven hours, 44 minutes and 52 seconds by nearly three days.
Hailing from a number of countries, the crew had already broken four speed records on this journey around the globe - one to the equator, one to the Cape of Good Hope, one to Cape Leeuwin, and one from equator to equator.
A flotilla of boats and crowds on the dock welcomed the crew home.
Mr Thompson also became the first Briton to circumnavigate the globe non-stop for a fourth time, beating existing records held by fellow sailors Dee Caffari and Mike Golding.
He said: "This has been an incredible trip around the planet - almost a dream ride. And that is because of the quality of the boat, of the preparation and most of all the incredible crew on board."
He described his team-mates as "talented, industrious, dedicated, fun and welcoming to an English guy with schoolboy French", and added: "To achieve my dream of finally holding the Trophee Jules Verne... feels absolutely fantastic. At the same time, to become the first Briton to sail around the world non-stop four times is just amazing and feels very special."
Among the high points of the voyage were seeing an iceberg "as big as half of the Isle of Wight", and a comet on Christmas Day, he said.
The low points came when the crew lost two days due to weather delays both in the Pacific and North Atlantic and when they missed spending Christmas and new year ashore with family and friends, he added.