Day 145: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede set to round Cape Horn Tonight

Jean-Luc Van den Heede, the 73-year old French sailor leading the Golden Globe Race on his Rustler 36 yacht Matmut, is set to round Cape Horn at approx. 20:00 UTC tonight.

Seventeen solo sailors set out from Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1st and 8 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 inaugural 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 23rd Nov (21:00 French time)
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.
And 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 pitch-poled three 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 percent 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

All information:

M.O.S.S Australia
Race Yachts