LONDON, Feb. 7 (AP) - Ellen MacArthur has endured stormy seas, 65-mile-an-hour winds, a broken sail, burns, bruises and exhaustion - even a close encounter with a whale. The payoff is a solo around-the-world sailing record.
MacArthur, a 28-year-old Englishwoman, completed the 26,000-mile circumnavigation at 5:29 p.m. Eastern time on Monday by crossing an imaginary finish line between Ushant, France, and the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, on the south coast of England.
Her final time was 71 days 14 hours 18 minutes 33 seconds, her control team said.
Her 75-foot trimaran B & Q broke the record set by Francis Joyon, who finished in 72 days 22 hours 54 minutes 22 seconds in February 2004.
MacArthur's control team, based in Falmouth, in southern England - near where her voyage began over two months ago - burst into cheers and sprayed champagne as she crossed the line, beating Joyon's mark by 1 day 8 hours 35 minutes.
"I don't think until I see faces again that it's really going to sink in," she said in comments posted on her Web site. "It's been an absolutely unbelievable journey both physically and mentally. I'm absolutely overjoyed."
Later, she told her team that she never thought she would break Joyon's record on the first try.
"I feel absolutely exhausted but I'm elated to be here," she said. "The whole voyage has been very draining, and there's a lot of things going round in my head. But it's great that I can finally switch my brain off and relax in the company of others, which I've really missed."