Russian adventurer sets Antarctic circumnavigation record

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Canberra, May 6 : Fedor Konyukhov, a Russian adventurer, is set to enter the record books after circumnavigating Antarctica, the world's fifth largest continent.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, 56-year-old Konyukhov from Moscow had set out from the West Australian port town of Albany in January on his 14,000-nautical-mile circumnavigation of Antarctica.

The first successful circumnavigation below 45 degrees south took him past the world's three most dangerous capes for sailors - Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape Agulhas.

During the adventure, Konyukhov weathered massive waves and hurricane-force winds, and on Monday found himself on a collision course with a sperm whale.

"I went on deck as the sun was setting - and just in time spotted a giant sperm whale on a collision heading with my yacht," he said. "It was steaming towards the Southern Ocean without paying any attention to my vessel," he added.

"It just managed to bear away as it passed five to six metres from the bow. If I had not taken rapid action, I would certainly have hit it," said Konyukhov.

According to Konyukhov's son Oscar, who is waiting for him at Albany, "He has sailed four times around the world, which is nearly 300,000km, which is the distance from earth to the moon."

"He likes non-stop solo, single-handed projects, just him and the boat and the nature," he added.

Konyukhov's journey has been a test run for the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race, which will see competitors race to complete the circumnavigation.

The event will be the only inter-ocean yacht race in which competitors traverse the Southern Ocean between Cape Horn and Cape Agulhas below 40 degrees south.onyukhov is due to arrive in Albany on Wednesday after light winds held up his home run.

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