Jean Luc van den Heede is now over 28 days ahead of the singlehanded, westabout, global sailing record and should finish on Tuesday

Jean Luc van den Heede is now over 28 days ahead of the singlehanded, westabout, global sailing record. Sailing Adrien, his 85ft aluminium monohull, den Heede set off from Les Sables d’Olonne on 7 November last year and, after 118 days at sea, is scheduled to finish next Tuesday.

He’s currently heading back up the Atlantic in a southerly 25kt breeze at a position of 35°28’N / 22°05’W and has just 1,085 miles to the finish. Chatting from the boat this morning den Heede said: “Yet another fine day with some great wind conditions. Last night, I re-hoisted the solent, I even took in a reef, as we were surfing along a bit too fast for my taste and today, it’s perfect. I’m sure Adrien can feel that she’s almost home! My lead over my predecessor increased once again by more than one day. So, in short, you can guess, everything is going well and I’m feeling great.

“Taking into account the latest weather forecast, I can confirm that I’ll be finishing on Tuesday, so I’ve taken the decision to head back to Les Sables d’Olonne for Thursday evening’s tide. So I’ll be at Nouch sud (off the harbour entrance) at 5 pm. Of course, I’ve given myself a little bit extra time to make sure I can get there by then. Adrien can only move along thanks to the wind, and for practical reasons I had to take this decision a week in advance. A lot of things could happen between then and now, if nature has her way!”

Commenting on what he thinks life will be like back on land, den Heede said: “I’m often asked whether I’m scared of being back on dry land. Not at all! I’ll be really pleased to be back in civilisation. My passion for singlehanded yachting has been well and truly satisfied over the last four months. I’ve been well prepared for this glorious finish for a long time, as it’s something I had been dreaming of for four years without managing to do it, and the day I achieve my goal, I shan’t be afraid of the crowds or the media awaiting me!”