Despite the big winds and rough seas, Jean Luc van den Heede is now eight days ahead of his global challenge time

Jean Luc van den Heede is now eight days ahead of Philippe Monnet’s record-breaking time at this stage of his global challenge.

Van den Heede who’s sailing his 85ft aluminium cutter Adrien on a westabout solo non-stop global record attempt rounded Cape Horn on 11 December and is gradually increasing pace, despite the extremely rough conditions. According to van den Heede, who communicated from the boat yesterday it was a difficult Saturday not just because of the wind getting up to 40kts but because of the heavy sea.

Van den Heede said: “It’s all down to the length between the crests of two waves. With some waves, this distance means that Adrien doesn’t have time to come back down, before the next wave arrives, and so there is a big shock to the front section of the hull. Everything vibrates, the mast, the sails, the keel and the speed falls to two knots with water sweeping over the deck. Adrien shakes herself off, before gradually picking up her speed again.

“The main difficulty is that this length cannot be foreseen, and with millions of waves, around a hundred or so smash into Adrien, and of those two or three are responsible for a more violent head on crash. For the time being, everything is holding out…but sometimes it’s a little tough.”

For van den Heede to break the current record of 151 days, 19 hours and 54 minutes, held by Philippe Monnet he will have to cross the Ushant finish line before 07hrs.16mins.01sec on 7 April 2003.