Loick Peyron wins Route du Rhum in record time

POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe (AP) French sailor Loick Peyron won the Route du Rhum trans-Atlantic race in record time, crossing the finish line Monday more than two hours faster than the previous mark.

Ninety-one boats set off on Nov. 2 on a 3,542-nautical mile (6,560-kilometer) course between the French port city of Saint-Malo and the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

Peyron's time of 7 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes, 32 seconds aboard Banque Populaire VII eclipsed countryman Lionel Lemonchois' time of 7 days, 17 hours, 19 minutes, 6 seconds, which was set in 2006.

''I was not supposed to be on this boat two months ago. I was supposed to do the Rhum race on a very small yellow trimaran which will be the case in four years' time,'' Peyron said. ''But it is not a surprise because I knew that the boat was able to do it.''

The 54-year-old Peyron's previous best finish was fifth. He abandoned the race three times.

Peyron was also skipper of the 14-man Banque Populaire crew, which holds the Jules Verne Trophy.

Countryman Thomas Coville, the winner in 1998, was among the favorites but damaged his yacht in a collision with a cargo ship on the first night.

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