Wed, Nov 08, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Frenchman sets record in trans-Atlantic contest


Lionel Lemonchois won the Route du Rhum trans-Atlantic race, beating the record for a solo multihull class by more than four days when he reached the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe on Monday.

Lemonchois arrived in Point-a-Pitre in his trimaran Gitana 11 at 1:21am local time, finishing in 7 days, 17 hours, 19 minutes and 6 seconds.

The weather allowed him to sail very close to the direct route from Saint-Malo, on the northwestern coast of France, he said.

"I never had the feeling that I was over my limits or exhausted," he said.

The blue and white boat covered 3,542 nautical miles (6,559km) at an average speed of 19.11 knots. The Frenchman finished the fastest of anyone since the race, staged every four years, started in 1978. The previous record, set by Laurent Bourgnon in 1998, was 12 days, 8 hours, 41 minutes and 6 seconds.

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