Polly Vacher, who had been planning to fly across Antarctica as part of her round-the-world solo flight for charity, cancelled the Antarctic leg of her flight when strong winds forced her to return to Rothera Station.
Vacher left Scotland 6 May 2003 (see Antarctic Vol 21, no 1 & 2, p. 33) and flew over the North Pole to Alaska. From there she made her way down through North and South America to Argentina. The flight from Ushuaia to Rothera Station took eight hours.
She left the British base on 6 December expecting the 3459 km flight over the Pole to McMurdo to take 16 hours. But with increasing head winds and a rapidly dwindling fuel supply, she was forced to turn back at the Ellsworth Mountains and return to Rothera.
Here Vacher tried to buy fuel from Patriot Hills for a second attempt at the Antarctic crossing, but without success. She finally flew to Marambio
Station (Argentina) 20 December, where the Argentinean Air Force had delivered extra fuel on a specially laid on flight so that she could fly on to Ushuaia the same day.
From here Vacher will retrace her route through South America to California, and then across the Pacific to New Zealand to continue her planned global route. The failed Antarctic flight will add 14,000 miles and five to six weeks onto Potty's flight.
The tour ship Kapitan Klebnikov had earlier left drums of fuel for her onward flight from Antarctica. After her cancelled flight, Vacher offered the fuel to stranded Australian Jon Johanson.
Polly Vacher's round-the-world flight was to raise funds for "World Wings", an English aviation organisation that provides flight training for the disabled. Vacher's previous flight around the world in 2001 raised US$317,000 for the group.