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19 February 2004, 03:51 pm
Into the Doldrums
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Round the World

Yesterday Jean Luc Van Den Heede took out the final chart of his voyage and he is now making his way through the Doldrums 26 days ahead of the record set by Phillipe MONNET. Here's the latest from his logbook:
Hi there,

I've just had a really bad night, with a breeze that was really too light and still with a heavy swell. This made my poor mainsail flap around, which although downwind, often picked up the wind on the wrong side. Some superstitious people may think that I shouldn't have said yesterday that there wouldn't be much of a Doldrums. Not one myself, I rather think that it was the result of a thunderstorm, which created havoc with my light trade winds for a few hours.

Until 3 o'clock this morning, I tried to make headway as best I could with my asymmetrical spinnaker, then the wind got up a bit. I managed to get back into my bunk, after setting up my genoese with its pole... but that wasn't to last long, as seeing I had gone quite a way west over the past few days in order to take advantage of the "friendly" Doldrums, I was back on the course the cargo ships take coming up from Africa.

My Simrad detector warns me of the presence of radar with an alarm, while the cargo ship is still out of sight, but when they aren't going very fast and are on the same course as I am, the alarm can be triggered for several hours, so it is impossible to sleep. So I set my programmed radar to alert me to a 6-mile zone around Adrien...and consequently, I slept in this morning!

See you tomorrow,

VDH (As Amended by ISAF)
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