Fedor Konyukhov
enru
19.01.2014

One month on the ocean

A blazing sun, sweltering heat and nowhere to hide - this is the situation I'm in right now. It's too stuffy in the cabin and it's too hot on deck, although there is a slight breeze. There is no such thing as comfortable weather for an ocean rower.

Details

Fedor reports: "A blazing sun, sweltering heat and nowhere to hide - this is the situation I'm in right now. It's too stuffy in the cabin and it's too hot on deck, although there is a slight breeze. There is no such thing as comfortable weather for an ocean rower. If it's too cloudy then the solar panels don't get enough light to charge the accumulators in return. If the sky is clear then the sunrays are too strong to tolerate, plus the air gets thick. Seeking refuge from the heat in my sleeping cabin proves to be difficult: during the day the cabin practically turns into an oven. Too strong of winds bring high waves, but if there is no wind the speed of the boat drops significantly. All in all, the ocean keeps me on my toes. The best time for rowing is at night. Everything is well on board, except for some minor issues but nothing too serious to affect my journey.  I'm thankful to God for allowing me to see this day, January 19, to perform the service of the Great Blessings of Water on Theophany, which commemorates the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. It's a rare event that an Orthodox priest happens to be in the waters of the South Pacific Ocean performing this Divine Liturgy. I'm with you. Fedor." 

Since the beginning of the crossing, December 19th, 2013 Tourgoyak has covered close to 1700 miles. It's safe to say that the average mileage far exceeds our best predictions. Tourgoyak's progress is comparable to Fedor's other ocean rowboat "URALAZ" which he rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in 2002. He left Canary's island La Gomera heading to Barbados and spent 46 days to row the total of 2750 nautical miles. Once Fedor reaches 46th day on the Pacific Ocean we'll make a detailed analysis of his current transoceanic crossing.  

For a map of Fedor's transatlantic rowing in 2002 click here.

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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18.01.2014

Saturday. January 18, 2014. Day 27

The wind has died down: 3-5 knots, sometimes as low as 0 knots. The ocean is even, slightly rippling due to the light wind. The current is still present.

Details

Fedor on the satphone: “The wind has died down: 3-5 knots, sometimes as low as 0 knots. The ocean is even, slightly rippling due to the light wind. The current is still present. Right now, as we speak, the boat continues to proceed at 0.5 – 0.8 knots. According to the weather report the wind will pick up on Monday, so I’m using this pause for drying clothes and ventilating the cabins and the various compartments. I opened a can of Sicaflex sealant and enthusiastically apply it around some the hatches on board. During the last stormy weather some of the hatches were leaking and I marked the weak areas with a permanent marker. Now I can easily identify the spots and seal them before the next storm.

Tonight, after I’m done with cleaning the boat and cleansing myself, I think it will be a good time to perform the blessings of water. I packed a suitcase with a few of the liturgical vestments of the Orthodox Church, including the Epitrachil, epimanikia, breviary and a pectoral cross. In short, I have all the necessary garments and items to perform this service. I’m with you. Fedor. ”

Editor note: In December 19, 2010 Fedor Konyukhov became a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski

 



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17.01.2014

Day 26

Good day to all! I am doing well, the weather is exceptional and the ocean is calm. The wind is no more than 5 knots and there are practically no waves. It’s the first time the ocean has been smooth without wind waves. It was a good day to inspect the boat and start doing some maintenance. For the first time, I put on a mask and submerged my head under the water to get a picture of how the rudder and skeg are holding up.

Details

Fedor via the Iridium satellite phone: “Good day to all! I am doing well, the weather is exceptional and the ocean is calm. The wind is no more than 5 knots and there are practically no waves. It’s the first time the ocean has been smooth without wind waves. It was a good day to inspect the boat and start doing some maintenance.  For the first time, I put on a mask and submerged my head under the water to get a picture of how the rudder and skeg are holding up. They look great. The rudder has not been chipped or scratched. It’s sits solid; and there is no play in the steering. I found some green algae on the rudder and the keel, which means that the marine life has begun making a home on the bottom of my rowboat.  There will be a time when I have to dive under and clean the bottom of the boat with a special sponge and scrubber. The barnacles and other scrappy life forms will slow the boat down and attract the larger fish. It’s too early for deep cleaning, although the water is cooler right now, which means lower risk of attracting a shark. Later on, the ocean will become warmer and I’m bound to run into some of them. When I was doing my surveillance under the water I looked straight into the depth of the ocean and saw nothing. There were no fish, jellyfish, seaweeds; a complete void. It’s like looking into an abyss.

The wheels under the rowing seat are rapidly corroding in the saltwater conditions.  After only one month on the ocean I had to switch them with a new set. I have four sets on board, but I’m not giving up on the first one. After some TLC, scrubbing, and oiling I am sure the rollers will work just fine. ”

On photo: Fedor Konyukhov, Simon Chalk and Oscar Konyukhov at Charlie Pitcher’s shipyard. England. August 2013.

There are no ships, which is great news for me.  The fewer ships and islands, the better it is for me.

In my resolution to take better care of my health, I started taking vitamins.  The freeze-dried food and other packaged provisions are satisfying and high in calories, but don’t provide enough vitamins and nutrients.

Here goes another day on the ocean. A typical day here begins with a prayer, and a quick snack, followed by a rowing routine with breaks here and there, maintenance, and another stretch of rowing. I finish the day with another prayer before night falls. Things are not much different during the night. I must be honest, I enjoy my life out here. The ocean I’m experiencing right now is unattainable for most people. To see and live in this ocean vastness is truly amazing.”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski

 



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15.01.2014

Day 24

It’s been a good day for rowing. I’m in the north of 17° South latitude. Tourgoyak is staying on course. The wind rose to 20 knots, the waves increased as well. The boat is going fast - dizzyingly fast- I must say. I am constantly controlling the angle of the hull in relation to waves. The wind is from the east but the waves are continually from the south-east.

Details

Fedor briefly, on the satphone: “It’s been a good day for rowing. I’m in the north of 17° South latitude. Tourgoyak is staying on course. The wind rose to 20 knots, the waves increased as well. The boat is going fast - dizzyingly fast- I must say. I am constantly controlling the angle of the hull in relation to waves. The wind is from the east but the waves are continually from the south-east.

My apologies for calling only once and only to the office in Moscow.  I’m looking forward to a calmer ocean and being able to make more phone calls to friends and sponsors.”

Many of us were curious about Fedor’s daily food intake and if there is a set meal schedule on board.

Fedor reports: “I turn on a propane single-burner stove four times a day. Coffee at dawn is a must. Close to lunch time I boil some water to reconstitute a package of freeze-dried food. I’ve got two brands: one by a British company (Expedition Food) and the other by a Norwegian company (Dry Tech). I’m alternating between these two brands. By the end of the day I have another round of hot coffee or chocolate and pour some into a thermos for a night shift. I haven’t had any tea yet. My eating habits depend on the weather and my general mood. There are times that the boat is tipping so hard that it becomes dangerous to deal with boiled water. In that case, I sustain on snacks and cold water.”

Today the expedition HQ received a notification from DIRECTERMAR, one of the organizations of the Armada de Chile. They report that rowing boat Tourgoyak has left Chile’s designated Zone of Responsibility for Search and Rescue. This means DIRECTERMAR is no longer responsible for monitoring Tourgoyak’s course however, they added, they will continue to watch Tourgoyak progress until French Polynesia. 

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski

 



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14.01.2014

Day 23

Last night by far was the best night that I have had since the start. The waves are smooth and long. The ocean is kind to me, raising the boat up and bringing it down, while at the same time nudging it along the course. The wind is stable, 15 knots with the occasional gusts of 20 knots.

Details

“Last night by far was the best night that I have had since the start. The waves are smooth and long. The ocean is kind to me, raising the boat up and bringing it down, while at the same time nudging it along the course. The wind is stable, 15 knots with the occasional gusts of 20 knots.

There is no doubt that by now I’m far away from the coast. Here, in the 17° S and 89° W, I’m fully experiencing a powerful system of the Southeast Trade Winds that carry enormous air masses across the ocean. So far the conditions are great for rowing. In the morning I was caught in a squall with some charges of rain. I collected some of the rain water, not for drinking- it’s too salty- but for washing my hair. I spotted dark clouds in the horizon early and was ready for this small ambush. My eyes are always fixed on two elements: the ocean and the sky. Any changes here attract my attention immediately. There is no distraction when I am looking around: no ships of any kind and I have yet to meet any ocean life. Only an uninterrupted line of the horizon separates the ocean with heavens.

Today I had passed the traverse of a sea town Ilo, Peru. Ilo was our plan B in case I couldn’t get authorization from the Chilean governmental agencies to leave Concon. In June of 2000, Jim Shekhdar (UK) started from Ilo. He spent 274 days rowing across the Pacific and arrived to North Stradbroke Island which is near Brisbane, Australia. Jim left South America in the winter, and I did it in the summer. Right now it’s hard to say whose choice is better, but I know that I’m having more favorable weather in these latitudes than he experienced. The fact remains, though: he finished his transpacific rowing safely in Australia and I’m months away from the continent. The difficult times will arrive that’s for sure. West of Tahiti the tropical storms and cyclones rage anytime between November and April. That worries me quite a bit. I hope that Tourgoyak and I will be able to squeeze by without any major encounters with the local storms.”

An Interactive program Earth Wind

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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14.01.2014

Crossing the Ilo latitude

As a small port city in Southern Peru, Ilo has a special meaning to all of us who were involved in organizing Fedor’s transpacific rowing expedition. This city was our plan B in the event that maritime authorities of Chile (Armada de Chile) would not give Fedor permission to take off from Chilean port Concon.

Details

As a small port city in Southern Peru, Ilo has a special meaning to all of us who were involved in organizing Fedor’s transpacific rowing expedition. This city was our plan B in the event that maritime authorities of Chile (Armada de Chile) would not give Fedor permission to take off from Chilean port Concon.

The city of Ilo became our second probable choice for the start after we read a book by Jim Shekhdar “Bold Man of the Sea: My Epic Journey”.  Upon his arrival in Concon he spent one month working towards receiving official permission from the Chilean governmental agencies to leave the port on his ocean rowboat “Le Shark”.  However, the only paper that he received was an official denial to disembark from Chile. He loaded “Le Shark” on a trailer and headed north, to Peru. A small sea town Ilo was the closest sea port. On June 29th, 2000, only one week after his arrival in Ilo, Jim was able to start rowing across the Pacific. After 274 days and 9393 nautical miles he arrived at North Stradbroke Island which is near Brisbane, Australia. As of today Shekhdar is the only person who was able to perform a solo rowing across the Southern Pacific Ocean, without any stopovers or resupplies. In his book Jim writes that he initially was planning to cross the ocean in six months and arrive in Australia by Christmas. However, he spent 9 months and competed the crossing on March 30th, 2001 with a dramatic boat capsizing in high seas just yards away from the shore. After the first huge breaker catapulted him out of the boat he managed to climb back inside “Le Shark” only to be thrown out for the second time by another breaker that capsized the boat. Jim had to swim the reaming 200 yards to the shore.

If Fedor wasn’t able to use Concon Chile as his starting point he would’ve move up north to Ilo, Peru just like Jim did.  Both Fedor and Jim’s routes are similar but there are a few significant differences in their expeditions. The first one is the season. Jim started when it was winter in the Southern Hemisphere, but Fedor left in the summer in hopes of arriving to Australia at the beginning of its winter. Their ocean row boats are different in the design and construction. Jim’s “Le Shark” was built from Bakelite plywood. In 1997, Jim and his friend David Jackson successfully rowed across the Atlantic from Tenerife to Barbados in 65 days. It was “Le Shark’s” first ocean crossing. Fedor’s boat Tourgoyak is built with thermoformed carbon fiber. This transpacific crossing is the first ocean experience for the boat. Of course the equipment has changed quite a bit during the last 13 years. The one thing remains unchanged is the distance of 9,000 some nautical miles between the two continents. The map of Jim Shekhdar’s route across the Pacific is here.

To read Jim Shekhdar’s interview with The National Geographic about his solo rowing across the Pacific click here.

After 22 days of leaving Concon, Fedor is passing Ilo in 1019 nautical miles west. Even though he is in the traverse of Peru, this region belongs to the Chilean sector of the Pacific, which continues to 131° of the West Longitude. After that it is the French Polynesia ocean sector.

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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12.01.2014

Three weeks on the ocean

Today the weather has been favorable. The east wind of 12-15 knots, the waves are pushing me along the course. The conditions are pretty much ideal. The sun is weak but there is enough sunlight hitting solar panels to charge accumulators on board.

Details

"Today the weather has been favorable. The east wind of 12-15 knots, the waves are pushing me along the course. The conditions are pretty much ideal. The sun is weak but there is enough sunlight hitting solar panels to charge accumulators on board. It's been three weeks since I left Concon. On one hand, these weeks just flew by, but on the other hand, it feels like it's already been three months. The ocean can certainly change a human being quite rapidly. A person must accept the ocean. Fighting is futile, and trying to conquer the ocean is hopeless. You have to merge and become one with it no matter how indistinguishable and infinitesimal it makes you feel. Only then do you have a chance to reach your destination. This is strictly my approach and so far, it hasn’t failed me yet.

I still remember, just like yesterday, celebrating my 62nd Birthday in Concon. Exactly one month ago. It was my goal to depart on my birthday, but nature decided otherwise. The strong south-west wind kept me and Tourgoyak at bay. So I changed the start day to December 14th, but even then I guess it wasn't my time yet. Four days later, the onboard accumulators failed completely and I had to turn back. The decision to come back to port was one the most difficult decisions I had to make. But in hindsight, it was a necessary, although not welcomed, introduction to rowing the Pacific. The frantic and stressful three days of repairs and installation of a new set of batteries is a whole another story. The second start was on December 22nd and it went much better.  

I'm looking at a small Birthday gift presented to me by my friends. A miniature replica of The Wandering Albatross monument installed at Cape Horn. My friends and I were privileged to circumnavigate the Cape Horn on one of the "Pelagic Australis" yacht just two weeks prior to starting this expedition. This was a very special trip for me with deep meaning as I'm sure it would be for any person who sails the oceans. Enough of reminiscing for one day. Hoping for another good day tomorrow. I'm with you. Fedor." 

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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11.01.2014

Day 20

Today I crossed 20° Southern Latitude and continue to head north. Despite my desire to turn west I cannot do it just yet. Right now conditions are ideal: downwind of 15 knots with gusts up to 18 knots; the Humboldt Current greatly aides my rowing. However, I’m already thinking about what lies ahead. In about 3 000 nautical miles I will be facing a serious tactical decision – how to approach and pass the French Polynesia.

Details

Fedor reports: “Today I crossed 20° Southern Latitude and continue to head north. Despite my desire to turn west I cannot do it just yet. Right now conditions are ideal: downwind of 15 knots with gusts up to 18 knots; the Humboldt Current greatly aides my rowing. However, I’m already thinking about what lies ahead. In about 3 000 nautical miles I will be facing a serious tactical decision – how to approach and pass the French Polynesia. 

It is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands such as the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Marquesas Islands , the Tubuai Island group, the Gambier Islands,  and of course, Tahiti, the largest and the most famous island in the archipelago of the Society Islands. While the picture of the hundreds of islands and atolls looks beautiful and exotic, for an ocean row boat it means only one thing - a very difficult route.  It’s hard to maneuver a rowboat amongst the islands, fighting the tidal currents and coastal winds. An ocean rowboat is not a narrow pirogue which is built to maneuver around and in between the small islands. As much as I admire their beauty I will have to stay away from the islands so not to become their castaway. 

So, I’m facing two different choices as far as rowing through the French Polynesia. The first choice is to pass the islands on the south side, staying within range of the 20° Southern Latitude.  However, this poses a risk of being swept off course by the South equatorial Current which will drag me too far south, towards New Zealand. If we add a westerly wind then I would head straight into the Southern Ocean with its 'Roaring Forties'. This would most likely mean one thing – evacuation- for an ocean rowboat is not designed to withstand such conditions. Option number two is to proceed north to the equator and upon reaching 10° of the Southern Latitude row above the French Polynesia. This approach adds quite a few miles to my crossing but eliminates the risk of being pushed towards New Zealand. I’m voting for the second option and will arch the French Polynesia from the northern side.

My main goal for the next couple of months is to reach waypoint at 12°00' South Latitude and 140°00' of West Longitude. This coordinates are located right in between the Marquesas Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago. Once I pass in-between these groups of islands I will head south-west towards Brisbane, leaving the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji and New Caledonia at the starboard.  I have about 3200 nautical miles to reach 12°00'S 140° 00' W. With God’s help, your prayers, and favorable weather conditions I shall be there in about two months. I’m with you. Fedor.”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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10.01.2014

The Day 19th

The Moscow HQ of the transpacific crossing had a stressful day today. The Yellow Brick buoys on board had failed to deliver the coordinates for both 12:00 and 16:00 UTC. On top of that, Fedor was unable to make his regular phone call at 21:00 (Moscow time).

Details

The Moscow HQ of the transpacific crossing had a stressful day today. The Yellow Brick buoys on board had failed to deliver the coordinates for both 12:00 and 16:00 UTC.  On top of that, Fedor was unable to make his regular phone call at 21:00 (Moscow time). When finally he was able to reach us via his satphone, we asked him to restart the buoys’ system. This worked, and we received the coordinates of Tourgoyak as of 17:50 UTC. The reasons for missed coordinates are unknown and we didn’t get a clear explanation from the Yellow Brick developers. Fedor has a reserve buoy on board and it’s been decided to use it the future situation of missed coordinates.

Fedor reports: “It’s been a good day. The wind is 15 knots, at starboard and stern. My course is 305-310. I’m very thankful that we installed a centerboard in the bow section of the boat.  Since the sun is scarce I’m not using the autopilot and steer the boat manually. I have a fixed rudder in the stern and the centerboard in the bow. Phil Morrison, who designed Tourgoyak, had insisted that we add the centerboard. Am I glad we listened to him! The ocean is in chaos, mixing and stirring. It feels as though two currents are butting against my boat. The waves slap the boat on each side, unceremoniously.”

Fedor is near 20 degree south latitude and the ocean whirlpool that he found himself in today can be explained by the currents that go parallel to the equator and waves that come from north and south. As we can see on this map –ocean swell that comes from Northern hemisphere meets with swell that comes from Southern Ocean. 20 degree South is a borderline when these two vectors of waves meet each other creating confusing sea.

Fedor: “I was told that a famous Russian marathon-runner Dmitriy Erokhin is currently running from Moscow to Sochi. His trek is dedicated to the Russian Olympic Games in February 2014. Dmitriy is facing 1700 kilometers and he aims to finish his running on the day of the Olympic Games opening – 7th of February 2014. I have no doubt that he will successfully reach Sochi. Although I do think his route is more dangerous than mine. Dmitriy runs alongside of the major traffic highways, and I’m in the ocean far away from any danger posed by cars or other vehicles. I’ll be praying for him and his safe arrival in Sochi.  I’m with you all. Fedor.”

As of January 10, 2014 after being on the ocean for 19 days, Fedor has rowed 1116 nautical miles, or 2066 km. 

A detailed map of Tourgoyak’s course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

To learn more about a Russian long-distance runner, Dmitriy Erokhin click here.  http://runmoscowsochi.ru/project.html

One of Dmitriy’s main objectives, besides finishing the 1700 km Moscow-Sochi run, is to raise funds and awareness of the organization called “Orbifond” that helps patients who have suffered a stroke and provides support to their families.

 

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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09.01.2014

The First Fish

According to my GPS I covered 60 nautical miles during the last 24 hours (12:00 UTC – 12:00 UTC). This is a great speed. It’s my goal to do at least 60 miles given that the weather cooperates. However, I can already testify that by tomorrow morning I won’t be able to meet this goal. But I have a good reason for it – tuna fish.

Details

Fedor Konyukhov via satellite phone: “According to my GPS I covered 60 nautical miles during the last 24 hours (12:00 UTC – 12:00 UTC). This is a great speed. It’s my goal to do at least 60 miles given that the weather cooperates.  However, I can already testify that by tomorrow morning I won’t be able to meet this goal. But I have a good reason for it – tuna fish. Yes, I did it. I caught a fish, a small tuna. Without any high hopes I released a fishing line overboard, and at a boat’s speed of 2.5-3 knots began fishing. This simple trolling paid off.  In about two hours, I heard a fishing reel and had to stop rowing. Without too much of a fight I was able to retrieve a small tuna fish of 40 cm in length.  Just what I needed! I don’t want any bigger fish since there is or fridge or ice box on board.  About an hour was spent on cleaning and cooking the fish. A fish soup, accompanied by sashimi was worth loosing some mileage. I dined on a gourmet food with the most gorgeous view of the ocean. This lunch was very welcomed after two weeks of dry and canned food.

I’m glad I was able test important equipment on aboard – my fishing gear. It worked well. Life is good. My course is west-north-west. I’m in a good mood despite the low clouds and luck of sun.  It’s good that I ran the watermaker yesterday and got 6 liters of fresh water. I’m with you. Fedor. ”

The map of the Tourgoyak's course: http://yb.tl/konyukhov2

The detailed map of the course: www.oceanrowing.com/Konyukhov/Pacific2013/dist_map.htm

Translated by Tatiana Koreski



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