Around the world sailing record

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Banque Populaire V, current outright record holder at 45 days, 13 hours

The first around the world sailing record for circumnavigation of the world was Juan Sebastián Elcano and the remaining members of Ferdinand Magellan's crew who completed their journey in 1522. The first solo record was set by Joshua Slocum in the Spray (1898).

Most races or solo attempts start from Europe. Due to the configuration of the continents, sailing around the world consists in sailing around the Antarctica continent, passing south of Cape Horn, Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin. Since 1918 the Panama Canal is an option but the locks must be entered and exited using engine power. Large stretches of the canal can be crossed under sail power.

Sailing around the world can be done by two directions: eastward or westward. The dominant winds and currents (outside tropical areas) make the voyage eastwards on the Southern hemisphere faster, most skippers and yachts who race prefer this route. Today, the multihulls perform much better than monohulls and hold the best times. Leisure yacht skippers who prefer tropical seas more often go westward, using the Trade winds (and the Panama canal).

The most famous races around the world are:

  • The Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, held in 1968-1969, was the first round-the-world yacht race.
  • The Vendée Globe is yacht race run single-handed on monohulls limited to 60 feet (around 18 metres). This races establishes the reference times on monohulls.
  • The Global Challenge, was race held every four years and followed the westward route.
  • The Race, was a race held in 2000, involving multihulls.
  • The Oryx Quest, held in 2005, starting from Qatar.
  • The Volvo Ocean Race, involving Volvo Open 70 monohulls.
  • The VELUX 5 Oceans Race, previously known as the BOC Challenge, later as Around Alone.

The Jules Verne Trophy is awarded to the skipper who breaks the outright record, starting from an imaginary line between the Créac'h lighthouse on Ouessant (Ushant) Island, France, and the Lizard Lighthouse, UK.

The records are homologated by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).[1]

According to the WSSRC, for around the world sailing records, there is a rule saying that the length must be at least 21,600 nm calculated along the shortest possible track from the starting port and back that does not cross land and does not go below 63°S. The great-circle distance formulas are to be used, assuming that the great circle length is 21,600 nm. It is allowed to have one single waypoint to lengthen the calculated track. The equator must be crossed.[2] In reality, this means that the boat should pass a waypoint at or not far from the antipode of the starting port of the journey (the exact position depends on how short the shortest possible track is). For example, the Vendée Globe starts at 46°N 2°W, has a waypoint at 57°S 180°E, and barely makes the distance requirement. The participants don't have to go to the antipode at 46°S 178°E since the rounding of Africa gives extra distance.

The eastward route[edit]

Records crewed[edit]

Year Time Skipper Yacht Type No Crew Crew Context
2012 January 45d 13h 42m 53s[3]  Loick Peyron (FRA) Banque Populaire V Trimaran 14 [4]  Thierry Chabagny (FRA)
 Florent Chastel (FRA)
 Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (FRA)
 Kevin Escoffier (FRA)
 Emmanuel Le Borgne (FRA)
 Frédéric Le Peutrec (FRA)
 Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant (FRA)
 Ronan Lucas (FRA)
 Pierre-Yves Moreau (FRA)
 Yvan Ravussin (SUI)
 Xavier Revil (FRA)
 Brian Thompson (GBR)
 Juan Vila (ESP)
onshore router  Marcel van Triest (NED)
attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy
2010 March 48d 07h 44m 52s[5]  Franck Cammas (FRA) Groupama 3 Trimaran 10 [6] Fred Le Peutrec
Stève Ravussin
Lionel Lemonchois
Thomas Coville
Loïc Le Mignon
Ronan Le Goff
Bruno Jeanjean
Jacques Caraës
Stan Honey
attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy
2005 March 50d 16h 20m 04s[7]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange II Catamaran 14 Roger Nilson
Lionel Lemonchois
Philippe Péché
Yann Elies
Ronan Le Goff
Sébastien Audigane
Jacques Caraes
Florent Chaste
Yves Le Blévec
Jean-Baptiste Epron
Nicolas de Castro
Ludovic Aglao et Bernard Stamm
attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy
2004 April 58d 09h 32m 45s[3]  Steve Fossett (USA) Cheyenne Catamaran 13[8] Adrienne Cahalan (navigator) AUS
David Scully USA
Brian Thompson GB
Jacques Vincent FRA
Guillermo Altadill ESP
Mike Beasley NZL
Fraser Brown NZL
Mark Featherstone GB
Damian Foxall IRE
Nick Leggatt ZA
Justin Slattery IRE
Paul Van Dyke USA.
2002 May 64d 08h 37m 24s [3]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange Catamaran 13 Gilles Chiori, Hervé Jan
 Nick Moloney (NZL)
 Yann Eliès (FRA)
Benoît Briand
Sébastien Josse
Ronan le Goff
Jean Baptiste Epron
Florent Chastel
Vladimir Dzada-Lyndis
Yves le Blévec
Philippe Péché
attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy
1997 March 71d 14h 18m 08s [3]  Olivier de Kersauson (FRA) Sport-Elec Trimaran 7 Didier Gainette
Hervé Jan
Michel Bothuon
Yves Pouillaude
 Thomas Coville (FRA)
Marc le Fur
attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy
1994 January 74d 22h 17m 22s[3]  Peter Blake (NZL) &
 Knox-Johnston (GBR)
Enza Catamaran 6 Paul Stanbrigh
David Alan-Williams
Dod Whright
Ed Dandy
attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy
1993 January 79d 06h 15m 56s[3]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Commodore Explorer Catamaran 5 Olivier Despaignes
Marc Vallin
Jack Vincent
 Cam Lewis (USA)
attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy

Records single-handed[edit]

On Multihull[edit]

Francis Joyon on Trimaran IDEC, arriving from his round the world voyage in 57 days
Year Time Skipper Yacht Type Note
2008 57d 13h 34m 06s  Francis Joyon (FRA) Trimaran IDEC Trimaran 95 ft Arrived on 19 January 2008, non-stop. Also the fourth fastest outright record.
2005 71d 14h 18m 33s  Ellen MacArthur (UK) B&Q/Castorama Trimaran 75 ft Arrived on 8 of February, non-stop.
2004 72d 22h 54m 22s  Francis Joyon (FRA) Idec Trimaran Non-stop
1989 125d  Olivier de Kersauson (FRA) Un autre regard Trimaran Two stops
1988 129d 19h 17m  Philippe Monnet (FRA) Kriter brut de brut Trimaran Two stops
1973 169d  Alain Colas (FRA) Manureva Trimaran One stop

On Monohull[edit]

Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia, former record holder on monohull
Year Time Skipper Yacht Type Context
2013 (January) 78d 2h 16m[3]  François Gabart (FRA) MACIF Monohull During Vendée Globe 2012-2013, non-stop and no assistance
2009 (January) 84d 3h 09m[3]  Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) Foncia Monohull During Vendée Globe 2008-2009, non-stop and no assistance
2005 (Feb) 87d 10h 45m 55s [3]  Vincent Riou (FRA) PRB Monohull During Vendée Globe 2004-2005, non-stop and no assistance
2001 (Feb) 93d 3h 57' 32[3]  Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) 'PRB Monohull During Vendée Globe 2000-2001, non-stop and no assistance
1997 105d 20h 31m 23s [3]  Christophe Auguin (FRA) Geodis Monohull During Vendée Globe 1996-1997, non-stop and no assistance
1990 109d 08h 48' 50"  Titouan Lamazou (FRA) Ecureuil d'Aquitaine II Monohull During Vendée Globe 1989-1990, non-stop and no assistance
1986 150d 1h 6m  Dodge Morgan (USA) American Promise Monohull Started 12 November 1985 in Bermuda, returned 11 April 1986, non-stop [9]
1969 313d  Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (UK) Suhaili Monohull Attempt at Sunday Times Golden Globe Race. Left Falmouth 14 June 1968 returned 22 April 1969. Achieved first non-stop single handed circumnavigation.
1967 226d  Sir Francis Chichester (UK) Gipsy Moth IV Monohull Solo attempt. One Stop in Sydney. Second person to achieve a true circumnavigation of the world solo, after Joshua Slocum.

The westward route[edit]

This route is the more demanding one, as it faces the dominant winds and currents. There are fewer attempts and records.

Record crewed[edit]

As of February 2010, no record has been homologated.

Single-handed[edit]

Year Time Skipper Yacht Type Note
2004 122d 14h 03m 49s  Jean Luc Van Den Heede (FRA) Adrien Monohull Solo attempt non-stop. Arrived 19 March.
2000 151d 19h 54m  Philippe Monnet (FRA) Uunet Monohull Solo attempt non-stop. Arrived 9 June.
1994 167d 7h 42m 54s  Mike Golding (UK) Group 4 Monohull Fastest westward journey
1971 292d  Chay Blyth (UK) British Steel Monohull Started 18 October 1970, arrived 6 August 1971

In May 2006, Dee Caffari became the first woman to sail around the world alone non-stop and single-handed westward on the Monohull Aviva, in 178 days.[10]

Intermediate records[edit]

The rules for intermediate records are set by the WSSRC.[11] Four official records are listed.:[12]

  • Equator to Equator
  • Indian Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • South Atlantic Ocean

From Equator to Equator[edit]

From the Atlantic Ocean: Equator => Cape Agulhas (South Africa) => Around Antarctica => Cape Horn => Equator

Date Time Skipper Yacht Type Crew
30 December 2011 32d 11h 51m[13]  Loïck Peyron (FRA) Banque Populaire V Multihull Crewed
6 March 2005 33d 16h 06m[12]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange II Multihull Crewed
10 January 2008 41d 08h 19m[14]  Francis Joyon (FRA) Trimaran IDEC Multihull Single-handed
19 January 2005 61d 22h 46m[12]  Vincent Riou (FRA) PRB Monohull Single-handed

Indian Ocean[edit]

from Cape Agulhas, South Africa (longitude 20°E) to Tasmania south point, (longitude : 146°49'E)

Date Time Skipper Yacht Type Crew
12 December 2011 08d 7h 22m[15]  Loïck Peyron (FRA) Banque Populaire V Multihull Crewed
25 February 2010 08d 17h 39m[16]  Franck Cammas (FRA) Groupama 3 Multihull Crewed
17 February 2005 09d 11h 04m[12]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange II Multihull Crewed
18 December 2007 09d 12h 03m[14]  Francis Joyon (FRA) Trimaran IDEC Multihull Single-handed
18 December 2004 14d 21h 01m[12]  Mike Golding (UK) Ecover Monohull Single-handed

Pacific ocean[edit]

Tasmania south point, (longitude : 146°49'E) to Cape Horn (longitude 67°16'W)

Date Time Skipper Yacht Type Crew
25 February 2005 08d 18h 08m[12]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange II Multihull Crewed
29 December 2007 10d 14h 30m[14]  Francis Joyon (FRA) Trimaran IDEC Multihull Single-handed
4 January 2005 16d 05h 26m[12]  Mike Golding (UK) Ecover Monohull Single-handed

South Atlantic ocean[edit]

From Cape Horn (longitude 67°16'W) to Cape Agulhas, South Africa (longitude 20°E)

Date Time Skipper Yacht Type Crew
17 March 2005 11d 10h 22m 13s [12]  Tony Bullimore (UK) Doha Multihull Crewed

From Jules Verne Trophy starting line (Ushant) to Equator (out of WSSRC rule)[edit]

Date Time Skipper Yacht Type Crew
27 November 2011 5d 14h 55m[17]  Loïck Peyron (FRA) Banque Populaire V Multihull Crewed
11 November 2009 5d 15h 23m[18]  Franck Cammas (FRA) Groupama 3 Multihull Crewed
6 February 2010 5d 19h 07m[19]  Franck Cammas (FRA) Groupama 3 Multihull Crewed
30 January 2008 6d 6h 24m[20]  Franck Cammas (FRA) Groupama 3 Multihull Crewed
2003 6d 11h 26m  Olivier de Kersauson (FRA) Geronimo Multihull Crewed
30 November 2007 6d 16h 58m[21]  Francis Joyon (FRA) Trimaran IDEC Multihull Single-handed
31 January 2005 7d 02h 56m  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange II Multihull Crewed

From Equator to Cape of Good Hope (out of WSSRC rules)[edit]

Date Time Skipper Yacht Type Crew
4 December 2011 6d 06h 53m[22]  Loïck Peyron (FRA) Banque Populaire V Multihull Crewed. Also beats the record Ushant - Cape of Good Hope in 11d 21h and 48m
6 February 2008 7d 02h 23m[23]  Franck Cammas (FRA) Groupama 3 Multihull Crewed
7 February 2005 7d 05h 23m[24]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange II Multihull Crewed
15 February 2010 8d 20h 40m[25]  Franck Cammas (FRA) Multihull Crewed

From Cape Horn to Equator (out of WSSRC rules)[edit]

From the cape Horn, cutting the longitude 67°16'W, up to the Equator

Date Time Skipper Yacht Type Crew
30 December 2011 07d 5h and 0m [26]  Loïck Peyron (FRA) Banque Populaire V Multihull Crewed
26 February 2005 08d 5h and 36m [26]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange II Multihull Crewed
2004 10d 10h and 47m [26]  Steve Fossett (USA) Cheyenne Multihull Crewed
2002 11d 1h and 57m [26]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange Multihull Crewed
2004 12d 10h and 25m [26]  Olivier de Kersauson (FRA) Geronimo Multihull Crewed

From Equator to Jules Verne Trophy finishing line (Ushant) (out of WSSRC rules)[edit]

Date Time Skipper Yacht Type Crew
2010 06d 10h and 44m [26]  Franck Cammas (FRA) Groupama 3 Multihull Crewed
2004 08d 6h and 42m [26]  Steve Fossett (USA) Cheyenne Multihull Crewed
2004 09d 11h and 7m [26]  Olivier de Kersauson (FRA) Geronimo Multihull Crewed
2005 09d 11h and 15m [26]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange II Multihull Crewed
2002 11d 3h and 48m [26]  Bruno Peyron (FRA) Orange Multihull Crewed

See also[edit]

Competitions and prizes
Other speed sailing records

Notes and references[edit]