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Yachtsman hopes for calmer days.

Byline: By Julia Kennard

A yachtsman headed back to sea yesterday (Sunday) in a bid to cross the Atlantic single-handedly.

Dental lecturer Ross Hobson, 45, was steeling himself for the 3,500-mile Faraday Mill Original Single-handed Trans-Atlantic race earlier this month, when his 45ft trimaran Mollymawk (corr) was damaged on a training trip.

The boat hit something in the sea off Plymouth, damaging its hull, daggerboard and rudder.

And a few days later Ross was lucky to survive after his van ( loaded with equipment for Mollymawk ( was written off in an accident near his home in Ponteland, Northumberland.

Ross's first attempt to cross the Atlantic from Plymouth to Rhode Island single-handedly ended in disaster in 2000 when his mast snapped.

But yesterday Ross ( who last August helped break the world record for sailing from Bermuda to Plymouth on a crewed boat by 14 hours ( said he had confidence in the Mollymawk.

Speaking from the Plymouth start line, where his was among 40 boats competing in the race to Rhode Island, he said: "The last couple of days have been absolutely frantic getting everything in order, but we are ready to go now and looking forward to it.

"I am confident ( we have been upset by bad luck in the past, but it's always a fresh start for us.

"Hopefully our karma will have come back round by now and we'll have good luck ( but I won't sing our success until we get there."

Ross hopes the heroics of Ellen MacArthur ( who broke the solo round-the-world record ( will spur him on. He said: "The next 14 days are going to be all about survival ( eating, sleeping and sailing. It's what I love doing. It is a fantastic atmosphere here and I intend to enjoy every minute."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 30, 2005
Words:295
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