EXCLUSIVE – Face to face with Jean Luc Van den Heede. VIDEO

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Smiling Jean Luc Van den Heede, his face is hollowed out by wrinkles but he looks decidedly fit after 211 days at sea and after winning a Golden Globe (read HERE). We are on his boat, on the Rustler 36 Matmut, where our correspondent Francesca Goi interviewed him. It has been 24 hours since his arrival, there was a big party in Les Sables, the ocean cold is a distant memory but his eyes and words still speak of it. In this unfiltered interview, exclusively for the Sailing Newspaper, we tell you who Jean Luc Van den Heede is, what his vision of sailing and challenges is, and how he handled himself, what he thought, during the most difficult moments of his Golden Globe. We believe that his feat as a sailor and sailor is epic in scope, the criticism our paper raised during the event was directed at the contradictions of the organization and not at its participants, we would like to repeat again. So honor to the winner, sailor, sailor and racer Jean Luc Van den Heede.

Below is the original video/audio in English, below is the Italian translation.

How did you sleep last night on a stable bed?

I didn’t sleep much, I had problems, I don’t know why, I slept only 5 minutes yesterday between the interviews, and when I was in my bed it didn’t move and I thought, it was strange and I was surprised, because most of the time I slept well at sea. Last night there was a big party, I came back at midnight and until 1 or 2 o’clock I couldn’t sleep, so yes I had trouble sleeping.

You have raced many different challenges, Vendée Globe, Global Challenge, Golden Globe, Mini Transat etc…to do what you do and to do it well, it’s not enough just to be a good sailor, tell us about who Jean Luc Van den Heede is.

I like being at sea, I like being in the middle of nowhere and crossing the Ocean, I like challenges, doing something where you’re not sure you’re going to get there, if you’re sure you’re going to get there, if you’re sure you’re going to be first, it’s not the same thing. I did not know what would happen, when I left on July 1 on this boat, I did not know what I was getting into. It’s a new story, a new regatta. I like new regattas, I was at the first Vendée Globe which was a new regatta, I was at the first Mini Transat which was a new regatta, I like new challenges, when I left for the first Vendée Globe we didn’t know anything, some people thought nobody would come back. You could just imagine what was going to happen and be aware that you didn’t know how it was going to end but believe that you could do it, I like that, I like the suspense, but I also like the competition, because in every competition there is suspense. I need in my life to have goals, all kinds of goals, accomplished one goal I think of the next. I arrived yesterday and now I don’t have any goals (laughs) or rather as my wife says, “You don’t have any yet, but let’s talk about that again in a day.”.

Tell us what happened when you damaged the mast, whether you were thinking of quitting the race or what was going through your mind

When I saw the mast moving like that I said “it’s over,” there was no other option but to stop the race. I got into the wind going slowly and I started thinking, if I didn’t want to finish the race I had to repair the mast, so I tried to repair it as best I could, but I thought the mast was gone, I couldn’t sail with a mast like that, it was to be changed, to be rebuilt, so I thought if I continue the race and it breaks I make a makeshift rig and I can get anywhere, I can repair it and it may break or maybe not, and I tried to get to Les Sables, and here I am.

With surprise you stated that you never had any fears for yourself? What emotions did you experience during these 211 days?

I don’t know (laughs) I believe in myself a lot, I believed in my boat, so I don’t think I had any problems, even if I had capsized I knew the boat was strong, I knew how I had prepared it, I didn’t have any fear. I have a positive nature, I think I am optimistic. My experience definitely helped me, it’s very different when you leave around the world for the first time or when you leave for the sixth time. You know where you are going.

What would you recommend to someone who is a sailing enthusiast and feels inspired by you and what you have done?

If somebody has passion it’s nice, the problem is that so many people don’t have passion, so I think it’s very important to have goals and passion, and if you want to do something try to do as well as you can to be especially well prepared to get to the bottom of your passion, but the most important thing is to have passion.

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