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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 21:12 GMT
Sailor frees his yacht from nets
Robin Knox-Johnston arrives back in the English Channel on 23 April 1969
Knox-Johnston sailed into the record books on 22 April 1969
A sailor who was the first person to go solo non-stop round the world has dived into freezing waters after running into difficulties in the southern ocean.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, from Ipplepen, Devon, had to cut away fishing net from the keel of his boat after it became tangled during the Five Oceans Race.

The 67-year-old said he was "extremely relieved" to have successfully removed the net, which was 15ft (4.5m) down.

Mr Knox-Johnston left Gosport, Hants, in October to participate in the race.

One day lost

Mr Knox-Johnston described how he first tried to cut the net away from his 60ft (18m) yacht, Saga Insurance, with a knife.

But he then had to dive down, wearing just his dry suit and a harness, in order to avoid buoyancy.

Mr Knox-Johnston, who is now about 15 days sailing away from Fremantle in Australia, said he feared the three-hour process to free the boat could have cost him a day.

The Five Oceans Race, which started on 22 October, covers three gruelling legs from Bilbao to Fremantle, Australia, and on to Norfolk, US, before returning to Bilbao.

Mr Knox-Johnston is the oldest competitor in the race, which was established as the first single-handed round-the-world yacht race in 1982, and is run every four years.

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