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4 March 2004, 04:41 pm
Jean-Luc Van Den Heede Finishing on Tuesday
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Round the World

<I>Yet another fine day with some great wind conditions. Last night, I put back up the solent, I even took in a reef, as we were surfing along a bit too fast for my taste and today, it's perfect. I'm sure Adrien can feel that she's almost home!
Yet another fine day with some great wind conditions. Last night, I put back up the solent, I even took in a reef, as we were surfing along a bit too fast for my taste and today, it's perfect. I'm sure Adrien can feel that she's almost home!

My lead over my predecessor increased once again by more than one day. So, in short, you can guess, everything is going well and I'm feeling great.

Taking into account the latest weather forecast, I can confirm that I'll be finishing on Tuesday, so I've taken the decision to head back to Les Sables d'Olonne for Thursday evening's tide. So I'll be at Nouch sud (off the harbour entrance) at 5 p.m. Of course, I've given myself a little bit extra time to make sure I can get there by then. Adrien can only move along thanks to the wind, and for practical reasons I had to take this decision a week in advance. A lot of things could happen between then and now, if nature has her way!

I'm often asked whether I'm scared of being back on dry land. Not at all! I'll be really pleased to be back in civilisation. My passion for single-handed yachting has been well and truly satisfied over the last four months. I've been well prepared for this glorious finish for a long time, as it's something I had been dreaming of for 4 years without managing to do it, and the day I achieve my goal, I shan't be afraid of the crowds or the media awaiting me!

See you tomorrow,


Jean Luc Van Den Heede had got so used to being alone with Adrien, cut off from the world and civilisation, that he had almost forgotten that this close relationship he has would one day come to an end

"In fact, I got up so close to Foro in the Cape Verde Islands that I could see the houses, roads, cars and everything. I said to myself "Crikey! It's true that land is getting ever nearer. Today I have less than 2000 miles left to cover. Having said that, on board, that doesn't change anything. I still do my utmost to keep Adrien moving along as best I can. Meanwhile, I do my sums with my friend Pierre Lasnier to try to find out when we can have a celebration. If all goes well, I should be back in Les Sables d'Olonne two days after crossing the finishing line off Ushant. I plan to reach Ushant on Tuesday or Wednesday, but it's more likely to be Tuesday (9th March). If all continues as planned, I will beat Philippe Monnet's record by four weeks. That pleases me no end. Today, I had a look to see where he was on his 116th day, and he was just rounding the Cape of Good Hope".

VDH's satisfaction can also be heard clearly in his voice, whenever he speaks of Adrien "She is in fine form. The sails will finish the race, I don't have any particular worries, with the pilot, the rigging, the electronics or the electrical system. And this will be the first time I've been around the world without having to climb the mast. Quite exceptional!"

For three days now, the boat has been covering 300 miles a day. If her appetite continues like this, Adrien will be able to be back in her homeport on Thursday 11 or Friday 12 March. I'm not really someone, who likes being alone all the time, so I'll be happy to be back in civilisation. After four months of being alone, I don't feel any stress. I'll no longer have to eat canned food and I'll be able to have a big party in Les Sables on the evening of my arrival".


VDH (As Amended by ISAF)
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