If all goes to plan, Jean Luc Van Den Heede’s Global Challenge boat, Adrien should be back in the water next week

Jean Luc Van Den Heede’s yacht Adrien has had her keel repaired and replaced and is scheduled to be back in the water next week.

Van Den Heede who last Autumn attempted to break the east to west Global Challenge in his aluminium boat Adrien, had to retire from the challenge with keel problems earlier this year.

Back at the Gamelin boatyard in La Rochelle, the keel was removed and repairs have been completed ready for the boat to be launched next week. Van Den Heede describes the keel-joining operation:

‘Though with greater difficulty than the last time, we succeeded in the delicate operation of joining the keel and the hull together.

‘The operation of lowering the hull on to the keel (see photo) was done on a cradle, five metres high, and I am all the more satisfied that the keel is perfectly centred in all directions.

‘On Monday (25 April), as intended, the welder welded the reinforcing plates which maintain the alignment and then on Tuesday and Wednesday we ran in the resin which seals the keel at a rate of an application every four hours.

‘There is still a lot of work for us to do: we have to put back the mountings for the Volvo engines, refit the rigging, finish the electricity, finish the hull-keel junction and apply the antifouling.

‘If all goes well and weather permitting, Adrien will be refloated next week 8-13 April and I hope to bring the boat back to Sables d’Olonne soon after the 15 April.’