Paris - Vendee Globe leader Alex Thomson reached the Cape of Good Hope in a record time on Thursday as the Welsh skipper continued to blaze a trail in the solo round the world yacht race.
After leaving French port Les Sables d'Olonne on November 6 Thomson took only 17 days, 22 hours and 58 minutes to arrive at the Cape.
The previous benchmark for the trip of 22 days 23 hours 46 minutes was set by French skipper Armel Le Cleac'h four years ago.
Organisers had originally announced mistakenly that Thomson had taken 18 days 3 hours 2 minutes.
Le Cleac'h is placed second, 90 nautical miles behind Thomson with Sbastien Josse 232 nanometre behind the leader in third.
While for this trio it was full steam ahead, one of their rivals Morgan Lagraviere had to pull out with a broken rudder when lying fourth.
"I don't have anything to repair damage like that," the 29-year-old Vendee rookie said.
"I had a tough night with autopilot worries. I had between 20-25 knots of wind and the boat was impossible to control. I broached 4 or 5 times.
"While taking a nap towards midday, I felt the boat going over. When I went outside, I could see that the leeward rudder had come out of its attachment and that two-thirds of it was missing."
He becomes the third of the 29-strong flotilla to retire after Bertrand de Broc and Vincent Riou.
All three were victims of their boats hitting unidentified submerged objects in the Atlantic.
Thomson himself suffered a massive fright on day 13 when trying to get some sleep after a stormy night's sailing his Hugo Boss boat collided with a mysterious object, damaging his boat.
The 42-year-old came third in the race in 2012 and had to pull out in both 2004 and 2008.
This time the Welshman declared outright he felt he would become the first non-Frenchman to win, pushing his 18 metre craft to the limit.
He took the lead six days in by taking the risk of a wilder but shorter route past Cape Verde as his rivals veered to less risky waters.
Organisers predict the winner could complete the 'Everest of the Seas' - 21,638 nautical miles (40,073 km) taking in the three great Capes - Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn - by about January 20.
Standings at 17:00 GMT
1. Alex Thomson (GBR/Hugo Boss) at 17.500 nautical miles to the finish
2. Armel Le Clac'h (FRA/Banque Populaire VIII) at 76 nautical miles from the leader
3. Sbastien Josse (FRA/Edmond de Rothschild) at 218.2
4. Morgan Lagravire (FRA/Safran) 475.9
5. Paul Meilhat (FRA/SMA) 761.7
6. Jrmie Beyou (FRA/Matre Coq) 817.6
7. Yann Elis (FRA/Quguiner-Leucmie Espoir) 1146.5
8. Jean Le Cam (FRA/Finistre Mer Vent) 1826
9. Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA/StMichel-Virbac) 1841.7
10. Thomas Ruyant (FRA/Le souffle du nord) 1943.5
13. Kojiro Shiraishi (JPN/Spirit of Yukoh) 2581.17
17. Conrad Coleman (USA-AUS/Foresight Natural Energy) 2604.23
18. Rich Wilson (USA/Great American IV) 2634.65
24. Enda O'Coineen (IRL/Kilcullen Voyager) 3022.46