Russian sailor achieves solo circumnavigation of the Antarctic

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Amid many trials, Russian sailor Fedor Konyukhov returned to Albany, Western Australia Tuesday after circling the Antarctic in 102 days.

The 56-year-old sailor set a new precedent for sailors with his achievement and the Antarctica Ocean Cup Race will now be an annual event, according to an Antarctica Cup Management press release. The racetrack that took Bob Williams, chair of the Antarctica Cup and his team five years to develop has now sparked international interest. Entries for the next race are being planned in the U.S., Europe and Australia, according to the release.

This is Konyukhov’s fourth solo circumnavigation of his sailing career. He did test runs of his 85-foot maxi monohull yacht Trading Network Alye Parusa in Falmouth, UK prior to sailing to Australia Oct. 12, 2007. He left Albany on Jan. 26 of this year and braved freezing cold, storms and icebergs that threatened to block his way.

“We have done 30,000 miles together and now have the greatest respect for her,” said Konyukhov of his yacht in the release. “But now I am looking forward to a nice, thick steak, a shower, clean sheets and 12 hours of sleep.”

Williams greeted Konyukhov at the finish line and announced that Gate 12 of the racetrack will be forever dubbed “Konyukhov Gate.”

For information on the race, go to www.antarcticacup.com

— Elizabeth Ellis

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