Two important meetings in one day
The Chilean Maritime Authority (DIRECTEMAR) and Fedor Konyukhov’s team arranged a meeting in Valparaiso, Chile, on November 29, 2013. The purpose of the meeting was to highlight scope and challenges of Search and Rescue in covering 3,100 miles of the Pacific Ocean that spreads from the Chilean coast all the way to 131° Western longitude. Konyukhov’s team was presented with the information and photos of the rescue ships and motor boats. The commander of the DIRECTEMAR, Ricardo Velasquez tentatively agreed to let Fedor Konyukhov’s boat “Tourgoyak” to start the trans-pacific row from the Chilean coast if the rowboat and the rescue equipment onboard are up to a par. The inspection is scheduled to take place on December 4, 2013 in Concon, Chile.
The meeting was of great importance to Fedor because it will allow him to begin his long planned journey. Getting approval from the Chilean maritime authorities for this journey would have historical significance for trans-pacific rowing. Back in 2001 the first attempt to row across the Pacific Ocean starting from Chile was made by Jim Sheckdar, a British ocean rower. He was turned down by the DIRECTEMAR authorities. He had to move the start of his solo-expedition to Ilo, Peru. He spent 273 days in the Ocean and was able to reach one of Australian islands but not the Australian continent. After Sheckdar, there were ten more attempts to row across the Pacific from South America to Australia. All of the ocean rowers were choosing Peru as a starting point. There was an unspoken myth that it was virtually impossible to get approval from the Chilean authorities for such a risky endeavor. Fedor Konyukhov and his team are happy to have held such a successful meeting with DIRECTEMAR.
While meeting with the Search and Rescue authorities, Fedor Konyukhov received a phone call from the yacht-club where the “Tourgoyak” is docked. The news was that Chilean President Miguel Juan Sebastian Pinera Echenique was going to be at the club later that afternoon. The question was: Would Fedor Konyukhov like to meet the President of Chile if the opportunity presented itself? The necessary agreements were arranged and by the late afternoon of November 29th, Fedor was introduced to the Chilean President. Fedor talked about his plans to row across the Pacific Ocean. President Sebastian Pinera Echenique listened attentively and asked all kinds of questions about the row boat, its equipment, how long this journey would take, how many hours a day Fedor plans to be on oars and what are the techniques in getting the fresh water. In conclusion the President bid his farewell and best wishes to the Russian explorer on his journey which is scheduled for December 12, 2013.
Translated by Tatiana Koreski