Setting sail for icy waters

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Sept. 28 — At 56, Fedor Konyukhov has numerous daring expeditions on his sailing résumé — and he’s not through yet.

After four global circumnavigations and crossing the Atlantic 14 times (once in a rowboat), Konyukhov is preparing for yet another challenge — to sail solo around Antarctica non-stop and provide a benchmark for others to beat, according to a news release from Sail-World.com.

Born on the coast of the Sea of Azov (part of the Black Sea), Konyukhov is now in Falmouth, England, readying his 88-foot yacht, named Trading Network Alye Parusa, for the 14,600-mile trip. He plans to use the voyage as a prelude to the Antarctica Cup Race planned for 2009-’10, according to Sail-World.com.

The Russian adventurer says he’s had the sea in his veins since he was a child, with a father whose ancestors were fishermen. On his Web site, he claims to be the first and only person so far to have reached what he calls the five extreme poles of the planet — North Geographical Pole; South Geographical Pole; Pole of Considerable Inaccessibility in the Arctic Ocean; Mt. Everest (Alpinists Pole); and Cape Horn (Yachtsmen Pole).

According to Konyukhov’s Web site he took Alye Parusa on her first sea trials in Falmouth Bay Sept. 9 to test out her new sails from North Sails France, and was happy to see they met the requirements for the long journey. The Web site states that Alye Parusa will depart to Australia by mid-October.

The voyage is planned to begin in January from Albany, Australia.

— Elizabeth Ellis