A loose keel has forced Luc Van Den Heede to abort his attempt to break the singlehanded global challenge record

Luc Van Den Heede has been forced to abandon his attempt to break the singlehanded global challenge record. Having rounded Cape Horn yesterday, four days ahead of Philippe Monnet’s previous record, Den Heede discovered the keel on his yacht Adrien was loose. He is now on his way back to Cape Horn en route to the Atlantic.

According to Den Heede the crack in the keel shaft is not too bad but he is concerned the crack will get worse if he continues in the rough Southern Ocean conditions. Talking about the cause of the problem Den Heede believes that the keel attachment failed because of the lack of pre-race evaluation: ‘Adrien is built to take up such a challenge, but she has insufficient longitudinal structure in the keel area. Unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to validate these longitudinal effort calculations in heavy weather prior to launching and the Cape Horn crossing has really tested this to the limit.’

Naturally Den Heede is unhappy about his failed record breaking attempt but he knows the boat is fast. During the six week period since he started, he was consistently well ahead of the record of 151 days, 19 hours and 54 minutes set by Philippe Monnet aboard the monohull U UNET, so there is no doubt he will be back to give it another go.