Crossing the Ilo latitude

14 January 2014

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:

The detailed map of the course:

Translated by Tatiana Koreski

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