40-year-old sails from Cape Horn under jury rig

Italian Alessandro Di Benedetto has completed a 268-day circumnavigation in a 21-foot mini-Transat, becoming the smallest boat to sail around the world solo and nonstop in such a time.

Di Benedetto’s feat is more impressive as he dismasted just before rounding Cape Horn, forcing him to sail the entire length of the Atlantic under jury rig.

After the dismasting he set up the jury rig and headed for Chile, but the new configuration worked so well that he rounded the Horn with it and continued his non-stop voyage.

Yesterday Di Benedetto, 40, arrived in Les Sables d’Olonne, France where he started nearly nine months ago.

He said: ‘It was really fantastic for me. It was a dream I’ve always thought was feasible. However, there are plenty of people told me I was crazy and that I would die.’

Although his boat was slightly modified, it was designed for fast, leeward sailing in the Atlantic, not for the high Southern Ocean waves.

The World Speed Sailing Record Council (WSSRC) has approved his official time is 268 days, 19 hours, 36 minutes and 12 seconds and it is thought he also broke the record for the longest distance sailed under jury rig, although this is not officially recorded.