Jean Luc Van Den Heede who had to abort his non-stop singlehanded world speed record attempt aboard Adrien at the beginning of January is now just 200 nautical miles from Hobart
Jean Luc Van Den Heede who had to abort his non-stop singlehanded world speed record attempt aboard Adrien at the beginning of January is now just 200 nautical miles from Hobart.
Van Den Heede was 18 days ahead of the record when he was forced to retire with a broken mast in the Southern Hemisphere’s Screaming 50s, nearly 1,000 miles from land. He succeeded in stepping a jury rig and has spent the last 15days, in atrocious conditions making his way back to land.
According to Den Heede the mast gave way above deck between the aluminium base and the two stainless steel flanges where the mast jack passes through. Obviously Den Heede’s immediate concern is to get back to shore safely but he is also keen to get the mast situation sorted. “There are three options, commented Den Heede, “repatriate Adrien by merchant vessel, which actually seems to me to be too expensive; build a new mast and for that I haven’t yet got all the estimates; or find a second-hand one, but for that I haven’t had any answers either and that really annoys me?I would however, like to get back to France quickly with Adrien to consider the future.”
In the meantime, Adrien continues make tracks towards Tasmania despite the unfavourable conditions. “The depression should die down in a few hours and so much the better,” commented Den Heede from the boat this morning, “Luckily my journey to Tasmania is nearing its end. I have made nearly 100 miles in the right direction and I should achieve as much in the 24 hours to come. I am 200 nautical miles from Hobart. Tomorrow (23 January) my friends are coming to find me.”
A rendezvous has finally been made with the Sir Hubert Wilkins – a 35 metre vessel, designed for Antarctic expeditions – which is set to give Adrien a tow back to shore by Thursday afternoon.