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Van den Heede Wins Golden Globe Race Ahead of the Storms

29th January 2019
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Safely home and a clear winner - Jean–Luc van den Heede in the all-conquering "Little Snail”, his well-tested Rustler 36 Matmut Safely home and a clear winner - Jean–Luc van den Heede in the all-conquering "Little Snail”, his well-tested Rustler 36 Matmut

Jean-Luc van den Heede safely berthed his Rustler 36 Matmut in the Vendee Marina in Les Sables-d’Olonne shortly after 1100 hrs today to confirm him in first place in convincing style in the Golden Jubilee Golden Globe Race writes W M Nixon. Much is being made of the fact that he has bested Robin Knox-Johnston’s pioneering time with Suhaili 50 years ago by a clear 100 days, but in truth, such comparisons are an over-simplification of two very different yet outstandingly significant achievements.

By getting efficiently to port this morning, Van den Heede has kept himself safely ahead of the next complex of rapidly approaching classic Bay of Biscay superstorms, which are forecast to be so extreme that second-placed Mark Slats of The Netherlands – who was more than 350 miles astern of van den Heede when the latter finished – is currently heading for shelter in La Coruna in northwest Spain after controversial communication with his shore team.

Published in Solo Sailing
WM Nixon

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WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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