Jean Luc van den Heede is nearly two days ahead of Philippe Monnet's time at this stage of his global record attempt after 16 days at sea

Jean Luc van den Heede is nearly two days ahead of Philippe Monnet’s time after 16 days at sea. Van den Heede set off from Les Sables d’Olonne on his fourth attempt at setting a new solo non-stop westabout record on 6 November see previous news story here and, despite suffering light winds a couple of days after the start, is now striding ahead and covered 270 miles in the last 24 hours.

Commenting from the boat Van den Heed said: “Since crossing the Equator at 11 minutes past 5 CET on Friday night, everything has been going well! I have picked up the fine SE trade winds. With my ballast tanks filled with 3 tonnes of water, I should manage at least 250 miles per day without any problem, especially when the wind gradually comes around to the east. For the time being, I am sailing upwind but not too close-hauled, with the Solent and the mainsail raised. “I have carried out some minor repairs. I managed to find the tiny fuel leak in the portside Volvo engine. It was just a screw, (which had worked loose because of the vibrations, I suppose) that needed tightening up a bit. Then, I patched up the mainsail, where it had been rubbing on the reefing point.

“I’m keeping an eye on anything that rubs and frays all the time. Last night wasn’t the quietest of nights, as I was sailing along with a cargo ship on either side of me, and they were both on the same course as me and were hardly making any faster headway. I had them within sight for a large part of the night. Now they have moved off and I’m going to have a little nap!”