Fedor Konyukhov
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The construction of the 9 meters rowing boat is completed

The construction of Fedor Konyukhov’s new ocean row boat has been completed this summer at the boat yard near Ipswich, England.  This boat was designed and built specifically for solo crossing the Pacific Ocean.  Fedor Konyukhov plans to start the journey on his Birthday, December 12th, 2013 from Chilean sea-port Valparaiso heading to the east coast of Australia.  Fedor estimates that for a distance of 8000 nautical miles he’ll need 200 days.  This route is considered the most challenging in the world of ocean rowing.  To this date, there hasn’t been a successful crossing between the two continents: South America and Australia.

In 2002 Fedor Konyukhov rowed across the Atlantic Ocean solo in a record time of 46 days. After more than 10 years, the technology of constructing ocean row boats has significantly improved.  Based on his previous experience rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, Fedor Konyukhov asked British boat designer – Phil Morrison for a few changes in the design of the new hull.  The length of the boat will exceed the previous boat URALAZ by 3 meters. The water tight aft cabin is divided in two parts; the closest one to the exit will contain a navigation station and galley, the other part of the cabin will be for sleeping. The food and equipment will be stored in the bow section of the boat. The length of this carbon fiber boat is 9 meters and the weight, before being fully equipped is 260 kg.  The estimated weight of the boat after it’s stocked and ready for a launch is 600 kg.  The equipment for the ocean crossing is very familiar to the explorer: the GPS unit, lights, VHF radio, a few water makers (turns sea water into drinking water), satellite phone, etc.  The electrical items will be powered by batteries which in turn will be charged by solar panels placed on top of the cabins. This time Fedor will have two sets of oars: long ones for calm waters, and short ones for stormy weather.  Besides equipping the boat, it is critical to plan the right amount of food for one person who will spend 200 days on the ocean.

The main challenge of this crossing will be the distance. To cross the Pacific Ocean on a sail boat is a great achievement, but to row across such ocean is a task that’s close to unattainable. The boat has to endure the ocean and the human body has to endure the ocean as well. Cargo shipping in these parts of the Ocean is sparse, and in case of an emergency it can be more than a week before any help arrives. To compare, it takes about 24 hours to receive help in the Atlantic Ocean.

Given the distance of 8000 nautical miles, Fedor Konyukhov foresees that he won’t be able to complete the crossing before the end of the Southern Hemisphere summer and will have to deal with the arrival of the fall which means a lot of stormy weather as he gets closer to the coast of Australia. After the first 3500-4000 miles Fedor Konyukhov will enter a zone of atolls.  This location is filled with numerous islands, of which many have yet to be mapped (or tidal).  As he will continue approaching Australia, Fedor will enter the Great Barrier Reef with its atolls and islands as well.

The boat, with its preliminary name “K9”, will be shown at the Southampton Boat Show in England between September 12th and 22nd. To learn more about the show click here.  It’s estimated that “K9” will be shipped to Chile on a cargo vessel leaving England by mid October. 

The person in charge of building and equipping the «К9» boat is Charlie Pitcher.  In February-March 2013, Charlie has done solo rowboat crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 35 days, beating world solo record by almost 5 days.  Read more about Charlie Pitcher here.  

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The project manager is the most experiences ocean rower - Simon Chalk (UK).  He is also known for putting together the races across the Atlantic Ocean.  This Englishman has had 5 successful crossings of the Atlantic Ocean and 2 of the Indian Ocean. In 2003, Simon rowed the Indian Ocean in 108 days – becoming the youngest, fastest and the first Briton to row this ocean solo.  Simon is the only person in the world who rowed 7 times across oceans. Read more about Simon Chalk here.

Between Fedor, Charlie and Simon they have 10 successful rowing boat ocean crossings.    

Translated by Tatiana Koreski  

 



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