After 268 days alone at sea, Alessandro Di Bennetto has sailed round the world in a 21ft Mini

Bravo Alessandro Di Benedetto, who this morning returned to France after sailing solo round the world unassisted in his diminutive 21ft Mini 6.5m. He is claiming the record for the smallest boat to do so.

This is him arriving today and thanks to early bird Thierry Martinez for the photo.

Di Benedetto, a Franco-Italian geologist, left last October and it took him a whopping 268 days 19 hours to complete the voyage. An epic voyage, for sure, though not quick – in fact, only 45 days faster than Robin Knox-Johnston managed in his 32ft Suhaili in 1969.

His route took him the classic route round the Great Capes, though sensibly he looped north in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Dipping south again to round Cape Horn, however, he was dismasted but he managed to make a jury rig half the height and continued all the way back to France.

Smaller yachts have made a circumnavigation and the record is currently held by Australian Serge Serge who set it in 1987 in Acrohc Australis, a self-designed aluminium sloop of 11ft 10in. However, Testa stopped on the way and also went through the Panama Canal, so Di Bennetto’s voyage should establish a new non-stop record.

Which of course means it won’t be a minute before someone plans on going out to beat it.