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Francis Joyon completes round the world boat race in 40 days

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PARIS (AP) 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 31.5-meter maxi trimaran Idec Sport.

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

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

Joyon averaged 26.85 knots, the equivalent of almost 50 kph, over 26,412 miles, also improving six intermediate records during the journey. In comparison, Peyron sailed 29,002 miles at an average speed of 26.51 knots.

Relief was his first thought at the finish. He said in a radio message 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 2010-12.

The 60-year-old Joyon also held the record for the fastest single-handed circumnavigation from 2008-16 before Thomas Coville improved his mark last December.

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