Jean Luc van den Heede
That's it! Jean Luc van den Heede's dream has burst. And that almost in the truest sense of the word. Yesterday afternoon around 2 p.m. the mast of his 70-foot yacht "Adrien" broke in a storm.
Nothing happened to the skipper. He is now trying to reach Australia under emergency rigging.
Just a few hours ago we announced at the same point that the 57-year-old Frenchman is well on his way to breaking the record of his compatriot Philipp Monnet (a total of 151 days). After all, van den Heede had already escaped his imaginary opponent 18 days. Had everything gone according to plan, he might even have been able to circumnavigate the world in under 135 days. But now the end of the ambitious project.
Jean Luc van den Heede was in a position 55 ° south latitude and 133 ° east longitude when the disaster began. "First the base of the mast loosened, then the mast broke a meter above the base," he wrote to his Shore crew by email. By the time this news was received, the experienced single-handed sailor had already worked hard for six hours to clear up or rescue his boat. "The wind is blowing at 55 knots and the swell is very high," he says of the external circumstances in which he found himself after the mast removal.
He also wrote in his message: "I am exhausted. It took me hours to prevent the mast from damaging the hull. I saved three or four meters of the mast so that we can later find out why it was broken. I still have the boom and the spinnaker pole with which I can build an emergency rig. But for that I have to wait for calmer seas. With the current conditions, it is impossible to work on deck. So I will take a break and relax a little. Don't worry about me. I'm in no danger and don't need any help right now."
It seems difficult to gauge what disappointment Jean Luc van den Heede has to deal with now. It is already the third attempt by the French to undercut the record with one hand and non-stop around the world and against the prevailing winds. He had to cancel the company twice before. In 1999 his Open 60 "Algimouss", rigged as a yawl, collided with a container. Two years later, the keel of his "Adrien" was defective. However, he had never come as far as on his last attempt.
Maybe the 57-year-old will try again. First, however, he now has to cover the 1,000 nautical miles to Tasmania. Record breaking too.