Jean Luc Van Den Heede is on standby once again for his fourth attempt at breaking the non-stop, singlehanded, westabout global record
Jean Luc Van Den Heede is on standby once again for his fourth attempt at breaking the non-stop, singlehanded, westabout global record. Van Den Heede will set off from Les Sables d’Olonne, cross the starting line to the north of Ushant but his start time very much depends on the weather conditions between now and 15 December. The aim is to beat the current record of 151 days, 19 hours and 54 minutes, set by Philippe Monnet in 2000.
Most people having had three failed attempts – including a dismasting in the middle of the Southern Ocean — would probably have thrown the towel in by now and taken up another sport. Not Den Heede. Fuelled by his failure, he’s spent the best part of the year preparing Adrien, his 85ft aluminium yacht, and is keen to set off again as soon as possible.
Talking about challenge and how he fills his time onboard during such a challenge Den Heede said: “There isn’t time to be bored on a boat; there is always plenty to do. I sail my boat but I also cook well and a tear in a sail can require several hours sewing? I am really quite domesticated!
“What is also difficult in a solitary situation is that the public isn’t there to push you into making an effort: to go and change a sail before the wind drops when you feel shattered or to stay at the helm for a long time in unstable winds, when the weather outside is awful. When you are alone you have to provide your own motivation.”
Watch out for Den Heede’s progress on yachtingworld.com