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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 13:41 GMT
Oarsman set for Antarctica quest
Antarctica, Noaa
Mr Yeats has been planning the trip for four years
A 47-year-old oarsman is set to make a New Year bid for the first solo circumnavigation of Antarctica in a rowing boat.

Father-of-seven Colin Yeats, of Chandlers Ford, Hampshire, is in the Falkland Islands preparing for his 10-month trip in extreme weather.

Mr Yeats, an ex-Merchant Navy seaman, hopes to become the first person to complete the 11,300-mile challenge.

He plans to set off in early January from Port Stanley on East Falkland.

The oarsman is also planning to gather global warming data while battling hazardous "waves, gales, ice and fog".

His specially-designed and built 22-foot rowing boat has been named after its Dorset designer Charlie Rossiter, of Christchurch.

It is unlikely you are going to come across anyone who is going to help you
Colin Yeats

Before leaving the UK on 22 December Mr Yeats enjoyed an early Christmas with his wife Kim and their five daughters and two sons, aged between six and 29.

Mr Yeats, who has been planning the Antarctic Circumpolar Expedition for four years, said: "It was nice but at the same time sad.

"I have mixed emotions about the expedition.

"On one hand there is the anticipation of doing it rather than talking about it, but on the other there is being away from your loved ones."

He said he will be keeping in touch with his family via e-mail and satellite phone.

'Difficult and hazardous'

From the Southern Ocean he will be heading south east with the circumpolar current and in the closing stages of his voyage he will face what could be the toughest part of his passage - the notorious Cape Horn.

Mr Yeats described his odyssey as "the most difficult and hazardous circumnavigation of the globe".

He admitted that if he did get into trouble in the Southern Ocean "it is unlikely you are going to come across anyone who is going to help you".

Mr Yeats, who served in the Merchant Navy on the QE2 liner turned troop-carrier during the Falklands War, will cram his twin-cabin vessel craft with freeze-dried food to provide himself with the 6,000 calories per day he will need to sustain himself.

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