AROUND ANTARCTIC IN A ROW BOAT

AROUND ANTARCTIC IN A ROW BOAT
Fyodor Konukhov plans to make a crossing from Australia to the Cape Horn alone in the AKROS row boat.

Fyodor Konukhov intends to start from Australian island of Tasmania in November 2018 and sail south of New Zealand to the Pacific Ocean to face the biggest part of the Southern Ocean. The entire distance of the route is 9,000 kilometers (in straight line). Throughout the entire history of row boating across oceans, no one has ever crossed the Southern Ocean (in this case a part of the Pacific Ocean) and sail around the Cape Horn in a row boat.

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The Southern Ocean is a conventional name of three oceans: Pacific, Atlantic and Indian which surround the Antarctic, and are referred to as “the fifth ocean” which, however, does not have a clearly defined islands and continents at the northern border.

Cyclonic motion of storms eastwards around the continent is often getting intensive due to temperature contrast between ice and the open ocean. The strongest average winds are observed in the ocean area from 40 degrees south latitude. In winter the ocean freezes up to 65 degrees south latitude in the Pacific sector and up to 55 degrees south latitude in the Atlantic sector which causes surface waters temperature to drop far below 0 °C; permanent strong winds in certain coastal points leave the coast line iceless during the winter.
Icebergs are met across the Southern Ocean in any season. Some of them reach hundreds of meters; smaller icebergs, their fragments and sea ice (normally, 0.5 to 1 meter) also challenge the navigation. The icebergs are of 6-15 years old which assumes that there are over 200 thousand icebergs existing at the same time in the ocean, with length from 500 meters to 180 km and up to tens of kilometers in width.

Sailors know the 40 to 60 southern latitudes as “the roaring forties” and “the furious fifties” as they were called in the sailing ships epoch due to poor weather, gales and high waves which are formed by motion of air masses flowing around the globe without any obstacles of any considerable land masses. Floating ice, especially from May to October, makes the area even more dangerous, and the remoteness of the region from populated areas of the Earth makes it hard to arrange search and rescue operations.

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Survival in such conditions is possible only in a specially designed vessel. Phil Morrison, a British designer, was invited to build a new row boat. Phil made the design of URALAZ row boat for Fyodor to cross Atlantic Ocean in record 46 days, and TURGOYAK boat to cross the Pacific Ocean from Chile to Australia in 160 days.

Phil suggested to keep the design and lines of TURGOYAK boat but improve it considering the specifics of the Southern ocean crossing. Size of the boat remained the same 9 meters. Forebody has a “crush box” and is divided into two watertight compartments to store food for 200 days and equipment. Cockpit was reduced to the minimum possible dimensions to reduce the risk for the rower of being washed away by high waves. Stern compartment was increased by half a meter (by virtue of the cockpit) and has three water tight bulkheads. The stern has a navigation room (on the right), cook galley (on the left), and a separate compartment for resting. Compartment with a steering gear is also separated by a watertight bulkhead.

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General Project Sponsor - Oilfield Service Company AKROS.

AKROS headed by Vladimir Kuksov, Chairman of the Board, has been sponsoring Fyodor Konukhov projects since 2013. In 2013-2014 AKROS was an official partner of the Pacific ocean crossing in a row boat; during the last three years the oilfield service company has been a general sponsor of annual sailing regatta for children “Cup of Fyodor Konukhov, the Traveller” at Turgoyak lake in Chelyabinsk oblast. AKROS also supported solo exhibition of Fyodor Konukhov art work in Moscow Museum of Modern Art in December 2014.

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Photo Oscar Konukhov (Project Manager), Vladimir Kuksov (Head of AKROS), Fyodor Konukhov (Traveller), Sergey Yeremenko and Oleg Sirotin (Project Partners).