Russian yachtsman Fedor Konyukhov successfully completed a solo circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent. As he did so, he was competing in the Antarctic Cup Ocean Race, a challenging multidivisional race around the earth’s southernmost continent.
The Antarctic Cup Racetrack is a timed interocean race course that traverses the Southern Ocean below 40° S and passes three of the most notorious capes on the planet: Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape Agulhas. The racetrack itself is divided into three lanes, each 300-nm wide: an outer lane between 45° S and 50°, 14,500 miles in circumference; a center lane, 50° S to 55° S, 13,100 nm in circumference; and an inner lane, 55° S to 60° S, 11,600 nm in circumference. Racers may traverse lanes but travel below 60° S is out of bounds. Race organizers may also close a lane or a part of a lane in the interest of safety. The Racetrack is also divided into 10-degree meridians. There are 18 gates located on selected meridians creating 18 Racetrack sectors.
The Racetrack is open to competitors during the months of December, January, February and March.
Competing solo, Fedor Konyukhov sailed the Racetrack aboard his 85-foot monohull Trading Network Alye Parusa. It was the 56-year-old Russian sailor’s fourth circumnavigation. After setting out from Albany, Australia on January 26, 2008, he returned unscathed 102 days 00 hrs 56 min 50 sec later, establishing a record time for the solo circumnavigation. Race organizers say that he has now thrown down the gauntlet to yachtsmen around the world to break his 102-day record.
For more information on the Antarctic Cup Ocean Race visit: www.antarcticacup.com.