Pacific Ocean Row: Fedor Konyukhov Returning To Chile

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It has been a rough week for some of the adventurers we’ve been following lately. Yesterday we learned that the Dark Ice Project has been cancelled, only to find out later that Pacific rower Fedor Konyukhov is returning to land as well. You may recall, a few days back he launched his attempt row solo across the Pacific, departing from Valparaise, Chile with the intention of crossing the ocean all the way to Brisbane, Australia. But four days in, he has suffered a set back is on his way back to shore.

According to a post on his website, Fedor suffered a failure of his solar charging system on Tuesday, with both of his onboard batteries running out of juice. Those batteries power a number of systems on  his custom built rowboat, and without the solar panel to recharge them, he would never have a chance of crossing the Pacific. His GPS devices, satellite phone and other electronics all require the batteries to function properly.

After he called for assistance, his support team back on land chartered a boat to go out to tow him in. He should be back in Chile today, as he had only made it about 40 miles from shore when he ran into trouble. According to his website, he has been using a manual satellite phone to stay in contact and has several handheld GPS devices to call in his coordinates. His team was en route on Wednesday, but so far there haven’t been any updates on their progress. They do say the situation is under control and that Fedor is not in any danger.

Once back on shore, the entire electrical system will need to be examined and repaired before the Russian can attempt to set out again. How long that take remains to be seen. Considering the voyage was suppose to take more than six months, it’s just a good thing he wasn’t further out from shore when the malfunction occurred. Hopefully he’ll be back rowing soon.

Kraig Becker