Paris, Jan 8 : A French team has broken the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the world in any type of yacht by three days.
The 14-strong crew of the 40m maxi-trimaran crossed the Jules Verne Trophy finish line at Brest, France, at 10.14pm on Friday, smashing the existing record of 48 days, 7 hours, 44 minutes and 52 seconds by nearly three days.
Brian Thompson was the only British crew member on board the Banque Populaire V, which completed the sprint in 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.
A flotilla of boats and crowds on the dock welcomed the crew home as French skipper Loick Peyron triumphantly waved to photographers.
Hailing from a number of countries, the crew had already broken four speed records on this journey around the globe - one to the equator, one to the Cape of Good Hope, one to Cape Leeuwin, and one from equator to equator.
Thompson, 49, who is based in Southampton, has also become the first Briton to circumnavigate the globe non-stop for a fourth time, beating existing records held by fellow sailors Dee Caffari and Mike Golding.
Thompson, who has sailed more than 100,000 miles with American adventurer Steve Fossett, said: 'This has been an incredible trip around the planet - almost a dream ride.
'And that is because of the quality of the boat, of the preparation and most of all the incredible crew on board.'
He described his teammates as 'talented, industrious, dedicated, fun and welcoming to an English guy with schoolboy French'.
He added: 'To achieve my dream of finally holding the Trophee Jules Verne...feels absolutely fantastic.
'At the same time, to become the first Briton to sail around the world non-stop four times is just amazing and feels very special.'
Among the high points of the voyage were seeing an iceberg 'as big as half of the Isle of Wight' and seeing a new comet on Christmas Day, he said.
The low points came when the crew lost two days due to weather delays both in the Pacific and North Atlantic and when they missed spending Christmas and New Year ashore with family and friends, he added.
Instead, Thompson had a Christmas pudding made of energy bars made for him by the team.
The yachtsman has been racing two and three-hulled speed machines for 20 years and has notched up 25 sailing records.
The Jules Verne Trophy is a prize for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by any type of yacht.
The trophy, named after the author of the novel Around The World In Eighty Days, was first awarded to the first yacht to sail around the world in 80 days.
The competition's starting point is defined by an imaginary line between the Créac'h lighthouse on Ouessant Island, France, and the Lizard Lighthouse, UK. Competitors must circumnavigate the globe passing the capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin, and Horn to their port side.
The boats must be propelled solely by the natural forces of the wind or of the crew and the route must be completed non-stop and with no outside assistance.
In Verne's novel, Phileas Fogg traverses the planet in 80 days to win a bet, but he travels much of the way by railroad and steamboat.