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Golden Globe Race - Day 145: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede set to round Cape Horn

by Barry Pickthall, Golden Globe Race 23 Nov 06:27 PST 23 November 2018
Jean-Luc Van Den Heede now with renewed vigour to complete the Golden Globe Race after deciding to repair his mast at sea © Jean-Luc Van Den Heede

Jean-Luc Van den Heede, the 73-year old French sailor leading the Golden Globe Race in his Rustler 36 yacht Matmut, is set to round Cape Horn at approx. 20:00 UTC/GMT tonight. Seventeen solo sailors set out from Les Sables d'Olonne on July 1st and eight remain in the race.

They have been a sea for 145 days and Jean-Luc has covered 20,000 miles, averaging 5.75 knots or 138 miles per day. This compares to the 4.02 knots averaged by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston for the whole circumnavigation during the inaugual Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 1968/9 when he became the first to sail solo non-stop around the Globe.

Van Den Heede's nearest rival is Dutchman Mark Slats sailing another Rustler 36 - Ohpen Maverick - currently trailing the Frenchman by 1,350 miles.

ETA at HORN: 20:00 UTC/GMT 23rd Nov.
Expected weather: 35/45 knots North West wind and 6 metre seas.
Weather will drop to 25 knots NW and 3 metre seas on rounding Cape Horn.
Approx. 20,000 miles sailed so far and 7,000 to go to Les Sables finish line.
He has been at sea 145 days. Average speed on course 5.75kts, 138 miles a day.
1,350 Miles ahead of Mark Slats.
He is 86 days ahead of Sir Robin Knox Johnston's yacht Suhaili, winner of the original Race in 1968/9.
He is 20 days ahead of the time set by Bernard Moitessier's French yacht Joshua to Cape Horn.

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede's Matmut suffered damage to her rigging when the yacht was pitchpoled 3-weeks ago. The Frenchman has made repairs but must slow down whenever the wind is forward of the beam to minimise the slamming effect on the rig when heading into the waves. This is expected to slow his progress on the final 7,000 miles back up the Atlantic to the finish at les Sables d'Olonne, giving Mark Slats the opportunity to close the gap and even take the lead.

The big question is how quickly Slats can run Jean-Luc down? If the Dutchman can sail 20% faster, then both will finish together during the first or second week of February. It promises to build up to an exciting finale!

For timely updates on Jean-Luc's approach and rounding of Cape Horn go to goldengloberace.com/livetracker or visit www.facebook.com/goldengloberace

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