Jean-Luc van den Heede has broken the singlehanded round Britain and Ireland record by more than four days

Jean-Luc van den Heede, who last year broke the westabout round the world record aboard his 85ft monohull Adrien, has this morning broken the singlehanded round Britain and Ireland record by more than four days.

Den Heede set off from Ventnor on the south side of the Isle of Wight last Wednesday and sailed the 1,800-mile route taking in the English Channel, the North Sea, the Atlantic and the Irish Sea, crossing the finish line at 0852 this morning with a time of 7 days, 8 hours and 47 minutes. He broke the current solo monohull record held by Belgium sailor Michel Kleinjans (11 days 12 hours 26 minutes and 48 seconds) aboard the Open 40 Roaring Forty by over four days.

Chatting about the last 24 hours of the record Van den Heede commented: “I was stuck for three hours facing Calais in no wind near a Japanese cargo ship. Finally, the wind returned from the east which allowed me to take a direct route to cross the Pas de Calais, despite 3 knots of current flowing the other way.

“The wind shifted south and Adrien was making progress at 15knots for two hours. I made the most of the sleep and to make myself feel better. I missed the team record by a few hours, but I have no regrets. My objective was to do the circuit in less than 10 days at an average of 10 knots which, on this voyage, wasn’t easy!”

Van den Heede now plans a June attempt at the SNSM north-west coast of France record – the one that Ellen MacArthur on B&Q recently completed.