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22 January 2004, 11:31 am
74 Days At Sea
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Round the World

Time slips slowly by on board Jean Luc Van den Heede's monohull. At 38° south, in the middle of nowhere, in flat calm conditions, VDH is having to remain patient.
The howling forties are lifeless. After a weekend of rough weather, for the moment, I am in light puffs of air that I am trying to catch to make headway west. I didn't have any choice about it, I had to head up to avoid a deep low pressure area. I am now facing a high-pressure area, and I knew I was going to have to remain patient. I've more than 18 days' lead over Monnet, so that's an important gap and means I don't need to worry too much.

The Amiens yachtsman remains stoical, sailing in the middle of the Indian Ocean. He is waiting for some better weather and taking advantage of these calm days to check out Adrien completely.

The atmosphere is very serious. I noticed the motor was making a strange noise. When I checked it out, I saw that the bolts which keep it in place had worked loose. As for the mainsail, there's no improvement there. Alongside the holes developing around the reefing points, the fall of the sail is staring to tear. I just hope it will last the whole trip. I have also repaired some parts of the B Standard, which seemed to show signs of being worn out

Apart from the surveillance and maintenance of his aluminium monohull, Jean Luc is amusing himself watching the albatrosses, which are accompanying him.

They watch me go by and seem to be asking themselves who this strange creature is. I can't stop thinking about a cartoon, Bernard and Bianca, when I see them taking off. They look like a heavy bomber on the runway, it's really funny. To tell the truth, I'm having fun forcing them to take off.

No room here for cartoons, VDH is waiting impatiently for the wind to get up again. His wish should come true tonight.
RivaCom/Véronique Guillou (As Amended by ISAF)
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