SYDNEY, April 7 (Xinhua) -- A team of eight Polish sailors have made their way to a Tasmanian port in Australia on Friday, for a well earned rest after becoming the first crew to circumnavigate Antarctica below the 60th parallel.
The 72-foot Katharsis II officially completed the loop on March 21 after 72 days in the world's most treacherous and bone-chilling seas.
But although the crew faced extremely challenging conditions including icebergs, snow and winds powerful enough to tear the roofs off houses, it wasn't unit the record was in the bag when the most dangerous part of the voyage began.
Around 1,000 nautical miles southwest of Tasmania's capital Hobart, the oyster class yacht was hit by a massive rogue wave during an intense storm.
The impact was so severe it caused the mainsail to swing to the other side of the vessel in an uncontrolled gybe.
As a result, the boat was knocked down and all of the crew were thrown into the icy water.
Luckily however the sailors were tethered to the boat and survived without injury.
"Fortunately, the rigging took the impact well, saving the mainmast," skipper and boat owner Mariusz Koper reported.
"But our carbon fibre boom, robust but not impact-resistant, is now fractured and will have to be replaced."
While the journey was exhausting and fraught with hazards, for one crew members the experience was nothing compared to the months leading up to the adventure.
In November 2016, Hanna Leniec was diagnosed with breast cancer and believed she might miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
But determined to beat the odds, Leniec did everything she could to keep her place on the Polish vessel.
"I learnt a lot about cancer, about what it really means, how it changes your everyday life, but also that it is curable and does not put an end to a normal life," she said.
"We tend to think that if we don't talk about something and pretend it doesn't exist, this will never happen to us But this is not how it works."
"I may always count on my nearest and dearest, my friends and my sailing family, Katharsis II crew."