Thomas Coville smashes round-the-world record

Published 2025 GMT (0425 HKT) December 26, 2016
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Thomas Coville holds a burning flare onboard his "Sodebo Ultim'" multihull as he arrives in the port of Brest, western France, on December 26, 2016, after beating the record in solo nonstop, round-the-world sailing. DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The 48-year-old had slashed eight days off the record when he ended his circumnavigation on his 31-meter maxi trimaran on December 25 at the official finish line near Ushant, an island in the southwestern English Channel. DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Making his fifth attempt at the record, he completed the journey in just 49 days, three hours, seven minutes and 38 seconds. The record had stood since 2008, when French skipper Francis Joyon clocked 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and six seconds. JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD/AFP/AFP/Getty Images/file
Coville spent Sunday night on board alone after completing the feat, but was joined for his arrival in the port by wife Cathy (L) and son Eliott (R). DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Coville was welcomed by thousands of supporters in Brest. "The biggest dreams don't come true at the first time of asking," he told the crowd. "Physically, I couldn't go any further. Several times I was within a whisker of not doing it." DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Coville's father and other relatives were also there to celebrate his achievement. FRED TANNEAU/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Coville was congratulated by veteran French skipper Olivier de Kersauson (left) who was a pioneer in multihull racing and twice held the Jules Verne Trophy for setting the fastest time around the world in sailboats of any kind with unrestricted crew size. FRED TANNEAU/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Coville speaks with Vincent Riou (left) -- a fellow French sailor who won the 2004 Vendee Globe round-the-world race but had to pull out of the 2016-17 edition in November after suffering damage to his boat. The Vendee Globe is also for solo sailors, but is restricted to monohull boats -- its record is just over 78 days. DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images