“VDH, Monsieur Long Road”, a look back at the life of a sailing legend, tonight 8pm


Jean-Luc Van den Heede has never stopped pushing the limits of sailing. But this time, it is said, the man who made 6 round the world solo, passed Cape Horn 14 times in competition (a record!), The IMOCA 92/96 world champion, the winner of the Golden Globe Race in 2019 is retiring at 76, he just announced. To pay tribute to him, the Les Screens de l’Aventure festival is organizing a unique online evening this evening, Thursday July 1, with free access to “Monsieur Long Route”, a 52-minute biographical documentary directed by Nicolas Raynaud, followed by an interactive exchange with the Sables d’Olonne live browser.

Jean-Luc Van den Heede is not the kind of sailor born with his feet in the water, destined for a life as a sailor traced from his childhood. Originally from Amiens, he then moved to his grandparents in the north of France, where he already imagined himself an adventurer aboard a raft that he built himself, at the bottom of his garden. It was only at the age of 17 that the man who would be nicknamed VDH set sail. And there again, he was far from suspecting that he was going to become one of the most famous French skippers, since he started working as a math teacher in Lorient for technical students. A teacher who loves his job. Sensitive to the diversity of the profiles of its students, it is driven by the desire to get them out of their academic difficulties.

It was not until 1989 that VDH devoted itself entirely to sailing and began to grow flawlessly. The list of his podiums is linked: he took part in the first and second editions of the Vendée Globe in 1990 and 1993, where he finished 3rd and 2nd respectively. He also stood out in the Transat Jacques Fabre in 1993, where he finished 4th; without forgetting the Route du Rhum in 1998, on the second step of the podium.

Six solo round-the-world trips

And his track record is always full. In 1996, he was crowned IMOCA 92/96 world champion. His name is legendary by setting the record for the greatest number of passages of Cape Horn in competition – twelve times! – and the record for the “Global Challenge”, a solo round-the-world trip. Finally, VDH brilliantly wins the Golden Globe Race in 2019 in 211 days, 23 hours and 12 minutes – he is then 73 years old. At this stage, is it still necessary to specify that he has completed six solo round the world tours?

On the occasion of the announcement of his retirement, at age 76, the Les Ecrans de l’Aventure festival de Dijon – organized from October 14 to 17, 2021 – offers an online screening, Thursday July 1 at 8:30 p.m., of the film “Monsieur Long Route”: a 52-minute biographical documentary, paying tribute to the career of an extraordinary man , but still humble, directed by Nicolas Raynaud in 2010. The broadcast will be followed by an interactive exchange with the skipper, live from Les Sables d’Olonne.

This evening is free, to book here.


Header photo: Jean Luc Van den Heede Collection

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