‘Impossible’ voyage ends in failure

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FEB. 21 — A British man’s second attempt to become the first person to row solo and unsupported around Antarctica ended unsuccessfully less than 40 hours after it began.

Colin Yeates, who is 47 and of Hampshire, England, was rescued Saturday by the crew of a patrol boat from the Falkland Islands, off Antarctica, news reports say. Only 39 hours after getting under way Yeates was in heavy seas when his 22-foot rowing boat, called Charlie Rossiter, capsized five times.

“It was like being in the washing machine,” Yeates says in a report. “It rolled 360 degrees five times, and was going up and down as well. I lost a lot of equipment and it was a fairly unpleasant experience, but I never really feared for my life as it’s such a good boat.”

Yeates, a former British navy man and father of seven, began his first attempt in January also from the Falkland Islands, according to reports. Yeates expected to complete the 11,300-nautical mile journey in 10 months. Strong currents, however, dragged his boat ashore at CowBay, East Falkland, only 30 hours after setting off. His boat was smashed to pieces.

“Sadly I’m going to have to call it a day, but what’s happened has happened,” Yeates says in the report.

“It’s been an adventure, if nothing else,” he continues. “But the realization was that it is probably an impossible thing to do. It’s a very unforgiving ocean.”

— Jason Fell