Jean Luc van den Heede who's on his fourth attempt at the westabout singlehanded global challenge is well ahead of the record

Jean Luc van den Heede who’s on his fourth attempt at the westabout singlehanded global challenge is well ahead of the record. After 100 days at sea, sailing Adrien, his 85ft aluminium cutter, he is now 26 days ahead of the record set by set by Philippe Monnet, and is now on the ‘home stretch’ with just 4,734 miles to the finish. Speaking from the boat this morning, van den Heede said: “Time is slipping by quickly if you look at it one way, but slowly from a different angle. Quickly, because 100 days of being alone seems to be a lot, yet on the other hand I get the feeling it wasn’t that long ago that I left. Slowly, because the days all seem the same, especially in the trade winds, with their routine of setting the sails, meals, communications, odd jobs and reading.

“The trade winds are finally waking up and since yesterday, I’ve had some good winds. In the morning, I put away the pole and genoese, and raised the spinnaker, which I kept an eye on all day long, adjusting my course as required. At nightfall, the wind changes are so great that I lower the spinny to be on the safe side, and I push back up my genoese, which allows me to sleep without being so stressed out.

“It’s amazing how it hasn’t been that warm in this latitude, seeing it’s the middle of summer in the southern Hemisphere. Usually, I’m simply boiling down here, with curtains pulled across the portholes on the sunny side, and with the heat making me sweat heavily with the slightest effort on deck. It’s not like that at all this year. During the day, it’s been nice, but not excessively hot, then at night I’m still putting on my light fleece. The planet is supposed to be getting warmer…but that’s certainly not the case down here this year!”

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

Day 100 Position at 1 p m11°42S / 1°01W

Wind:20 knots from SE. Slight sea

Temperatures:day 22°/ night 14° / sea 23°

Distance covered in the last 24 hours:219 miles

Distance to the finish4,734 miles

Lead over P.Monnet:26 days and 6 hours.