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Non-stop race around Antarctica back on

The 2005 Antarctica Cup International Yacht Race, which was expected to take place last winter but was postponed, is back on and is scheduled for December 2007 through February 2008.

The race, this time called the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race , is set to begin and end in Fremantle, Australia, and cover about 14,600 nautical miles around the South Pole. Organizers say it will be the longest non-stop race ever for crewed monohulls, and the first race to fully circumnavigate Antarctica.

Despite the event being held during the Antarctic summer, racers are expected to sail in temperatures ranging from 32 to 68 degrees F, on seas 35 to 40 degrees F, with swells more than 65 feet and “off the dial” wind gusts, organizers say. Marine satellite aided electronics will help establish electronic “waypoints” along the more remote sections of the racecourse.

The Antarctica Cup Ocean Race is marketed for high-performance ocean racing classes like Open 60s, VO 70s and Ocean Racing Multihulls. In 2003 organizers planned the race to be sailed by one-design 80-foot yachts, and was billed as having a record $5.25 million in prizes. Organizers of this newest installment of the race have not yet announced a prize amount.

Jason Fell