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French yachtsman Peyron wins Route du Rhum race

French yachtsman Loïck Peyron wins transatlantic Route du Rhum, Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe, 10 November 2014. AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS DERNE

French yachtsman Loïck Peyron won the transatlantic Route du Rhum on Monday and set a new record time for the 6560-kilometre journey.

Peyron crossed the line off Guadeloupe after seven days, 15 hours and eight minutes - two hours better than the previous record. 

"The record, it's anecdotal," said Peyron, "it's the cherry on the cake!"

"The last day was difficult" he said following his arrival at Pointe à Pitre in Guadeloupe, "I gave myself quite a scare. Once I almost overturned  when I fell asleep at the helm."

Peyron, 54, dominated the race from the first day after a fierce storm forced several sailors to drop out including the leading contender Thomas Coville - who was hit by a cargo ship just hours after setting off. 

Peyron (on Banque Populaire VII) managed to stay ahead all the way through to the finish line.

He came in third in the last Route du Rhum in 2010.

The race is held every four years and competitors race from Saint-Malo in Brittany to Pointe à Pitre in Guadeloupe.

French Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2) is expected to cross the line to come in second and Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild) third.