LATEST: Eighties pop star Simon Le Bon is relieved he faced his fears yesterday (07AUG05) and joined his old sailing crew to compete in the sailing race which almost claimed his life 20 years ago - in the very same boat he dodged death in.

The DURAN DURAN star sold his old yacht, Drum, in 1985 after it capsized off the coast of Cornwall, leaving Le Bon and his crew trapped for 40 minutes in the upturned boat, which flooded with water and poisonous battery acid.

But he has borrowed the same $13 million (GBP7 million) boat and began the 978 kilometre (608 mile) Rolex Fastnet Race from Britain's Isle of Wight to Plymouth, England on Sunday, to raise money for nautical charity Royal National Lifeboat Institute.

He explains, "I just feel relieved to be on the boat and all the preparation's over.

"It's more about getting an old bunch of friends together who haven't seen each other for a long time. For us, that race and accident was the most important thing to happen to us in our lives.

"I am sure there will be a relief when we get to where we capsized. Someone will pass it out as we pass and there will be a cheer.

"I'm not afraid, but when we pass the point where the keel fell off we will feel a bump inside us and feel vindicated about doing the whole thing again."