Jean-Luc Van Den Heede's Open 80, Adrien, left Cowes yesterday morning bound for Dinard (France) to set a record monohull time for the Channel Record Trophy

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede’s Open 80, Adrien, left Cowes yesterday morning bound for Dinard (France) to set a record monohull time for the Channel Record Trophy. They crossed the finish line yesterday evening at 2025 GMT, becoming the fastest monohull over this route in 11h 44mins 12secs.

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede: “Conditions weren’t that brilliant. We never had more than 20 knots of wind from the west. That meant that we were almost always sailing with the wind abeam or on a close reach, with the main and genoa up. Adrien sails well on this point of sail, but she would have been a lot faster under spinnaker in a 30-knot north-westerly wind”.

Never the less, with tidal coefficients of around 100 (high amplitude), Adrien was able to use the currents to her advantage (except when leaving the Isle of Wight). When passing the Raz Blanchard between the Island of Aurigny and the Cotentin coastline, she even reached speeds of 20 knots.

Six or so hours later, after having left Jersey Island to port, the 26 m long aluminium monohull crossed the finish line at the Banchenou buoy, recorded officially by the Yacht Club de Dinard. In so doing, Jean-Luc has knocked more than 3 hours off the time taken by Britain’s Lawrie Smith on his VOR 60 Silk Cut in 1999.

This record marks the first line in Adrien’s list of achievements and creates a monohull reference time for the Channel Record Trophy. Whilst this voyage was part of Jean-Luc’s training programme in preparation for his attempt on the east-west circumnavigation record (held by Frenchman Philippe Monnet), he and his four crew were not exactly on holiday. Adrien’s skipper pointed out once again how “we all stayed up on deck and no-one has slept since early this morning.”

A very good test for the boat which will be setting out for a new voyage round the world in less than two months from now. Adrien will be leaving her home port of Les Sables d’Olonne on 5th October 2002 to rally the start line off the coast of Ushant island to begin her 150-day voyage.

Over the moon about this first success, Jean-Luc believes that with a little more wind and some real downwind sailing, the Channel Record Trophy can be brought down to within the 10-hour limit. “I’ll be back to beat it once I’ve sailed round the world”.