The Antarctic expedition season may be long over, and shipping traffic across the Southern Ocean will soon be coming to an end soon, and yet Fedor Konyukhov remains. The Russian adventurer passed a major milestone in his quest to row around the world, having now spent more than 100 days alone in one of the most challenging sections of the sea found anywhere on the planet. And while he is making slow, but steady progress towards the end of the first stage of that journey, there is still a long way to go before he is done.
This past weekend, Konyukhov passed the 100 day mark, having spent nearly all of that time in the so-called “roaring 40s,” a reference sailors have for the turbulent section of the Southern Ocean within the 40º latitude range. The past three months have not been easy for Fedor, who struggles to make progress each and every day. Ocean currents, high winds, crashing waves, and powerful storms have all worked against him in his efforts to become the first person to row around the planet. Despite those challenges however, he continues his 12+ hours a day at the oars to the point that he has now closed within 1800 nautical miles (2071 miles/3333 km) of Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America and the ending point for Stage 1 of this expedition.
Konyukhov set out from Dunedin, New Zealand back on December 6, just as the austral summer was approaching the Southern Ocean. That summer has now come and gone, and the weather is expected to take a nasty turn with it. Fedor hopes he can hold out to reach the Cape however, which is when he’ll get a respite from journey for a time. The plan is to launch Stage 2 later in the year, rowing from South America all the way to Australia. The third, and final, stage will take place in 2020, with the Russian departing from Australia and rowing back to his starting point in New Zealand.
Progress across the Souther Ocean has been difficult almost from day one. Even under the best of conditions, it has been challenging for Konyukhov to make progress at times. Now, things are about to get a whole lot tougher, as the arrival of autumn will be swift and harsh to say the least. With more than 2000 miles yet to be crossed, the successful completion of Stage 1 is still not assured and it will likely be weeks before he is back on dry land again. Still, Fedor is as determined as ever and if anyone can see this expedition through to the end, it is probably him.
We’ll continue to keep an eye on his progress with more updates to come soon.