Jean Luc van den Heede is now 20 days ahead of Philippe Monnet's singlehanded global record as he heads for Cape of Good Hope

Jean Luc van den Heede sailing Adrien, his 85ft aluminium cutter, on his fourth attempt at the westabout singlehanded global challenge, is now 20 days ahead of the record. After a couple of good days with wind speeds topping 25kts, and covering up to 306 miles per day, van den Heede looks set to smash the current record of 151 days, 19 hours and 54 minutes, set by Philippe Monnet. However, he still has a long way to go and currently has his eyes set on the Cape of Good Hope 2,000 miles away.

Chatting from the boat this morning van den Heede said: “Well, I’ve done it! I’ve gone beyond 20 days lead after being stuck at 18 for a long time. I must point out that I’ve had two very good days, yesterday with 306 miles and today with 301 miles… the weather forecast for the next few days seems to be fairly fine and I can see the Cape at the end of the tunnel. Adrien is happy, as since the Horn, we haven’t had such fine conditions – 25 knots, downwind, in a steady wind, which means the 30 tonnes monohull is pleased to be sliding along at more than 13 knots. The pilot is working well, the boat is well adjusted, and the situation is comfortable enough for me to be able to prepare a couscous for lunch. That doesn’t often happen, as it’s a dish that requires several saucepans over a single burner, so Adrien has to be stable.”

If the current wind situation continues, van den Heede thinks he should round the Cape next weekend. He continued: “I have to remain vigilant, as there are still several dangers to avoid around South Africa. Philippe Monnet had to go and shelter for two days in a bay. Ideally, I’ll be downwind, but with Adrien’s 30 tonnes, I need 30-40 knot winds. That would be nice, but having said that, I’m ready to take whatever comes along.”

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.

Current position:38°33’S / 58°00’E

Wind:27 knots from east-south-east in moderate sea

Distance covered in the last 24 hours:235 miles

Distance to the Cape of Good Hope:1,925 miles