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Russian sailor/adventurer crosses the Pacific by row boat

by Nancy Knudsen on 1 Jun 2014
Konyukhov welcome .. .
He is a high-achieving sailor, but he wasn't sailing this time. Russian sailor and adventurer Fedor Konyukhov has crossed the Pacfic Ocean to arrive in Australia after rowing solo for 162 days from Chile.

The 62-year-old professional adventurer and Russian orthodox priest rowed into the Mooloolaba Spit on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on Saturday just after 1:00pm.

He embarked from South America on his 9,400nm solo voyage in his custom-built boat on December 23 last year, and lived on freeze-dried food and desalinate water.

Family, friends and a flotilla of local boats greeted the adventurer with cheers, tears and admiration upon his arrival.

'I'm sure most people will say that that's an amazing thing to do and I wish I could do half of it,' Father Gabriel Makarov, from St Nicholas Cathedral in Brisbane, told the ABC. Through an interpreter, Konyukhov said the last few miles were tough. He rowed up to 40nm a day during his journey from Chile to Australia.

Konyukhov's son, Oscar, was on hand to greet him when he arrived in Mooloolaba. He said his father was exhausted by the journey. Russian president Vladimir Putin also congratulated the adventurer through a letter delivered by the Russian ambassador.

Konyukhov holds the current record for a circumnavigation of Antarctica by sailing boat, which he completed in 2008.

More about Konyukhov:
As well as his sailing exploits, Konyukhov is a well respected artist in Russia, having won many awards and having completed over 3,000 paintings.

He is the only person to have reached such extreme points of the planet as the North Pole (three times), the South Pole, the Pole of Inaccessibility in the Arctic Ocean and the top of Mount Everest (twice).

Konyukhov has set world records, notably crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a single row-boat in 46 days, the best 24-hour distance in the same boat (110 miles) and covering about 800 km in 15 days and 22 hours during a Trans-Greenland dog sleigh ride.[3]

In 2011 Fyodor Konyukhov fulfilled an expedition cross Ethiopia, covering more than 1000 km.
He has also completed the 'Seven Summits' challenge - climbing the highest mountains on seven continents.

However, some of his world-record attempts have failed. In 2005 Konyukhov had to abandon a round-the-world sailing voyage and make land in Hobart after rigging issues.

Australia has been a base for many of the sailor's voyages, and he sailed from Albany, Western Australia, when he circumnavigated Antarctica in 2008.

He is already considering his next adventure - to pilot a hot air balloon across the world, starting in the Australian desert.

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