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10 March 2004, 09:45 am
Admiration Floods In For Record Breaking Yachtsman
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Les Sables D'Olonne

Jean Luc Van den Heede's performance on board Adrien has led to people everywhere showing their admiration and first on the list comes the reaction of the French President. Tributes are pouring in as he makes his way back to his home port of Les Sablesd'O
French President Jacques CHIRAC decided he had to congratulate the "superb performance which will be written into the annals of maritime history, and which together with your talent provokes admiration in us all." To conclude, in his letter of congratulations, Jacques Chirac wished every success to Jean Luc in his future challenges.

The Minister of Sport, Jean-François LAMOUR offered his congratulations on Tuesday to the great sailor. "Setting out from Brest on the 7 November of last year, you crossed the imaginary finishing line last night between The Lizard and Ushant. Smashing the record by 29 days in this round the world attempt, you overcame all the difficulties. Your courage, your resistance, and your motivation were really outstanding. I could feel it when I talked to you from the Paris Boat Show last December. Your fourth attempt was the successful one! Going beyond this fabulous record, you knew how to share a marvellous human endeavour and some unique moments with all those fans, but also with the French people," pointed out the Minister of Sport.

Michel ADRIEN, Chairman of the Adrien Group, was unable to hide his relief when he saw Jean Luc reach home. "First of all I am able to take a deep breath of relief. I used to sail and am aware of the danger involved in such a challenge, in spite of Jean-Luc's caution and professionalism. The superlatives expressing admiration will pour in from everywhere, and that's only normal, as if a record deserved to be broken it was this one. I remember how when he lost his mast last year, when he was in the greatest of difficulties and exhausted, he asked me if we would be ready to follow him on another attempt…"

The Metropolitan Authority of Amiens, which has also backed VDH since his first attempt offers their "warmest congratulations to Jean Luc Van den Heede for having worn the colours of the Amiens area so proudly and for such a distance, and they will be pleased to welcome him back on Thursday, when he returns to Les Sables. In the name of all the inhabitants of the 27 districts that make up the local authority, monsieur Gilles de Robien and the elected councillors of Amiens and the surrounding area send Jean Luc Van den Heede their sincere congratulations and their admiration following the exploit he has just achieved. By beating Philippe Monnet's record, VDH enters into maritime legend. He has shown what a great sporting talent he is, with his temperament and determination that puts him up there with France's greatest yachtsmen."

The Alcan Group and Pechiney: "Thank you, Jean Luc, for your fantastic exploit. Having been with you since the start of the construction of your aluminium boat, we are particularly happy and proud to have placed our trust in you. The values of tenacity and your intrepid nature could only lead to this victory. The Alcan Group in addition to the Pechiney teams congratulate you and offer their warm thanks to you for letting them share in this adventure."
Véronique Guillou (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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