Jean Luc Van Den Heede is just ahead of Philippe Monnet record breaking time during the early stage of the non-stop, singlehanded global challenge

Jean Luc Van Den Heede who set off, for the fourth time, on his non-stop, singlehanded global challenge last Friday see news story here is already ahead of Philippe Monnet’s 2000 record-breaking time. Although it is still early days and there’s only a few miles between the two, Van Den Heede is satisfied with the performance of his 85ft aluminium cutter Adrien as he heads south along the eastern edge of the Atlantic.

However, following a wild start to his challenge in gale force winds that lasted a couple of days Den Heede is now suffering from lack of wind which has, over the last couple of days, left him totally becalmed. A report from the boat this morning shows the anemometer hardly rising above 10 knots. Commenting from the boat Den Heeds said: “In spite of my big 450 m2 Pechiney Marine spinnaker, the average speed hasn’t been that great. But the wind has gone around gradually since yesterday, and now, after my night time gybe, it appears that I have moved away from the high-pressure front. “I’ve almost certainly already picked up the mild NE trade winds. Obviously Pierre Lasnier of Météomer has been helping me out, as in the past with his precious, and as always, accurate, daily weather advice.

“Apart from that, time is slipping slowly by without any problems. Given these quiet conditions, I’ve even made a start on my first book: “Quo Vadis” a classic from the early 1900s that I had never read or seen before.”

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 line again before 07hrs.16mins.01sec on 7 April 2003.