Having been towed in to Hobart over a month ago, Jean Luc Van Den Heede is nearly ready to set sail back to France

Having been towed in to Hobart over a month ago, Jean Luc Van Den Heede is nearly ready to set sail again back to Les Sables d’Olonne to arrive sometime in May.

Van Den Heede who was forced to abort his third, east to west solo round the world record attempt aboard the 85ft yacht Adrien, was 18 day ahead of Philippe Monnet’s record when his mast broke 1,000 miles from land, in the Screaming 50s. Although Den Heede and the repair team have been working non stop for the last month it is hoped the repair job will be completed by the end of the week.

“On Monday we lifted Adrien out to refit the sail drives and screws of the 2 Volvo engines.” Commented Den Heede this morning, “I took advantage of this to inspect Adrien’s underside. The hull is impeccable, except where there is no Boero antifouling (the plexiglass to see the keel and rudder and above all the cockpit drains which were practically blocked by mussels).

“As I was in a commercial harbour and a 380 volt supply was to hand, I had the necessary welds done on the aluminium: the port stanchions torn off, the staysail stay chainplate completely buckled by the bottle screw during the dismasting and the new temporary mast foot.

“On Tuesday, I installed the electricity and the engine controls. Adrien is now self-sufficient! Then I took delivery of the new temporary mast. To avoid rust spreading, I applied a coat of “killrust”. I hope that the paint lives up to its name! Finally on Wednesday the mast arrived on the quay. The track, the navigation lights and the anemometer were also fitted. If all goes to plan the crane will be there at 1400 today to fit the temporary mast which is rather heavy, a bit flexible, and will be fragile… but which, I hope will let us get to see Les Sables d’Olonne again in May. I say ‘we’ because in addition to Adrien and me there will be Jean Marie who is arriving on Monday to join me for the voyage.”