Weather turns during rower's record run

Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov is about three-quarters of the way through his rowing journey from Dunedin to Cape Horn, Chile. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov is about three-quarters of the way through his rowing journey from Dunedin to Cape Horn, Chile. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov is about to set another record this week, in his round-the-world rowing bid.

The 67-year-old is about three-quarters of the way through his row to Cape Horn, and tomorrow, he will have spent 100 days at sea - the longest anyone has rowed in the Southern Ocean.

He now has about 2500km to go.

He said autumn had arrived, and sea and weather conditions had become quite changeable.

''One moment it rains, the next moment there is damp snow, and sometimes hailstones shoot from the clouds.

''They thrum against the deck like peas.

''I get the sense that the ocean is deciding - do I pass into autumn, or let summer linger a little longer?

''I would, of course, like it if summer were to stay in these latitudes.''

Mr Konyukhov said the weather worsened every day as he headed south towards Cape Horn.

''It becomes colder and colder. The boat and I can't go north to pursue warmer latitudes because we need to head for the Drake Strait, to get to Cape Horn.''

He said wildlife had been scarce over the past six weeks, but as he neared the Chilean coastline, he had received visits from birds again, and a whale.

''A huge whale surfaced next to the boat, about 5 to 7m away.

''Suddenly, I heard a loud exhale. Of course, I am glad to see a whale, but it came upon me so suddenly that I was left a little muddled.

''I clearly saw scars and parasitic growths on his back.

''After so many weeks in this deserted ocean, today I have seen a veritable kaleidoscope of happenings.

''Maybe from now on it will be a little more lively with this ocean's inhabitants.''

Mr Konyukhov's row to Cape Horn is the first of three legs in his 27,000km journey from Dunedin, past Cape Horn, South Africa, South Australia and back to Dunedin.

He will begin his second leg in December, from Cape Horn to Cape Leeuwin, in Western Australia, and the third will begin in December 2020, from Australia back to Dunedin.

Each leg is expected to take about 120 days.

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