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17 December 2003, 04:07 pm
Adrien Being Shaken Around
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Adrien and Jean-Luc VAN DEN HEEDE (VDH) have just experienced their first two big depressions. With more than 6 days' lead over Philippe MONNET'S record, VDH is easing off as much as possible and taking advantage of the calm weather before the next storm.
After being directly hit by two depressions, Jean-Luc VAN DEN HEEDE knows full well that he is now in the boiling cauldron of the southern seas. This was the programme for Sunday: 45 knot winds from the West/Nor'west in very heavy seas, brought back memories to him of what happened on his previous attempts. You could feel it in his voice: "I've had a tough old night on board Adrien. Another depression, deeper than the first, went right over me on Sunday night with some violent winds (40-45 knots), but above all some very heavy seas. As a result, I've headed a little further north."

For it would be easy to forget it perhaps, but VDH has only just started to tackle the North Face of his Everest. After 32 days of sailing down the Atlantic, Adrien is now about to undertake at least 60 to 70 days sailing in the wrong direction, with depression after depression and thousands of waves to climb up... and down. "Try as I might, there's no stopping Adrien slamming down, when the sea is heavy ...not unless I turn around and head home!" That isn't the goal. Francis JOYON, who is just seeing things from the other side of the southern oceans doesn't seem to be very envious of him. He'll be taking a lot head-on, but that's what he's in it for !" And Jean-Luc confirmed that: "The days go by and one day is never like the other. Yesterday, I was tired after the night's storm, while today, I've had a good rest in the quiet weather, which is just the transition period before the next storm arrives.... " On Thursday probably.

So to look at things differently, the yachtsman from Amiens is setting himself some new targets in the short term: "I worked out that if I make 5 degrees to the West everyday, I'll reach the antemeridian on New Year's Day. In that direction, as I will lose a day because of the time difference (6h for the moment), it would be quite something to miss New Year's Day. I'm going to have to hurry up!"

Véronique Guillou (As Amended by ISAF News Editor)
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