Jean-Luc – self portrait during voyage to Hobart film gate. Image: Jean-Luc Van Den Heede

Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, the embattled race leader struggling with a damaged mast sustained during a storm 1,900 miles west of Cape Horn, has decided to continue in the race back to Les Sables d’Olonne.

In a dramatic satellite phone call to Race Chairman Don McIntyre, the 73-year old solo circumnavigator who continues to enjoy a 1,500 mile lead over second placed Dutchman Mark Slats, said that he had decided to make the best repair he can at sea and continue in the race. The Frenchman told said: “The worst that can happen is that I lose my rig, and I have my jury rig at the ready.

The Frenchman has, however, received an 18 hour time penalty for improper use of the GGR satellite phone. Jean-Luc called his wife in the hours after the mast problem, but as he received ‘no material assistance’,  GGR Organisers have applied the time penalty instead of being moved to the Chichester Class.

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