When flights to his native Argentina were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, 47 year-old Juan Manuel Ballestero devised an ambitious plan to be with his parents » to single-handedly sail his small 29 foot Ohlson 29 from Porto Santo, Portugal, 12,000 kilometres across the Atlantic ocean, to Mar del Plata, Argentina.
What do you do when you’re prohibited from international air travel but can’t fathom being away from your aged father? Sail 12,000km across the Atlantic, of course.
Juan Manuel Ballestero lives on the small Portuguese island of Porto Santo. When Argentina cancelled all international flights in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he reasoned that the best alternative to reach his 90-year-old father was by sailing. Ballestero‘s voyage from Port Santo to Mar del Plata took 86 days. He arrived on June 17 to a celebrity’s welcome.
So he said he loaded his 29-foot sailboat with canned tuna, fruit and rice and set sail in mid-March.
“I didn’t want to stay like a coward on an island where there were no cases,” Mr. Ballestero said. “I wanted to do everything possible to return home. The most important thing for me was to be with my family.”
Sailing across the Atlantic in a small boat is challenging in the best of circumstances. The added difficulties of doing it during a pandemic became clear three weeks into the trip.
On April 12, the authorities in Cape Verde refused to allow him to dock at the island nation to restock his supply of food and fuel, said Mr. Ballestero.
While he didn’t get to celebrate his father’s 90th birthday in May, he did make it home in time for Father’s Day.
At the end of June, Karlis Bardelis, 34, became the first person to row from South America to Asia. The Latvian left La Punta, Peru in July, 2018 and reached Pontian, Malaysia, one year and 11 months later — 715 days, to be precise.
He stopped at seven islands and contended with sharks, gales and some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. In all, he rowed over 26,000km. The mammoth solo row is just one leg of his plan to circumnavigate the entire world using only human power. His challenge is now on pause due to the travel restrictions currently in place.
Fedor Konyukhov, one of the greatest living adventurers, perhaps one of the greatest of all time, became the first person in history to cross the Southern Ocean by rowing boat. 154 days. 11,525km. Alone. In the world’s most dangerous Ocean. At the age of 67 years.
Fedor Konyukhov, a Russian national, is an extraordinary man.
Sailor. Hot Air Balloonist. Trekker (Desert and Polar). Dog-sledder. Rafter. Priest. Artist. Author. Skier. Cyclist. Fedor has set world records in many of those disciplines.
At the age of 67 he rowed further south than any other rowing boat had ever been at 56°40’S – a latitude known by sailors as the Furious Fifties.
Fedor spent 154 days being thrown around in the washing machine of the Southern Ocean, solo rowing some 11,500 from New Zealand to Cape Horn, Ushuaia, Argentina.
On 9 May 2019, Russian citizen Fedor Konyukhov crossed the longitude of the Chilean Diego Ramirez Islands and became the first person in history to complete a solo voyage on a row boat across the Southern Ocean, from New Zealand to the Drake Passage in the “roaring forties” and “furious fifties” latitudes.
In a span of seven years, he paddled a series of 15-foot kayaks more than 30,000 miles from the Danube River in Europe to the tropical shores of far northern Australia. Even better, when he first set out, he was “merely” planning to paddle to Cyprus for work, with no intention of traveling by kayak to the other side of the world. But the paddling proved irresistible and Speck did not stop once he reached Cyprus.
Speck was 25 years old when he set out on his incredible journey. He was an unemployed electrician living in Hamburg. Work was scarce and prospects were dim after the 1929 stock market crash ripped through Germany, so Speck decided to seek work in the copper mines of Cyprus. With no other means to get there, and as a proud member of a kayaking club since his youth, Speck decided to paddle his way to, hopefully, a job.
In May, 1932, Speck shoved off from banks of the Danube in a collapsible and very much not seaworthy 15-foot kayak, and began paddling south. He arrived in the Balkans several weeks later and, lulled to boredom by the languid waters of the Danube, Speck made for the Vardar River, where soon fierce rapids dashed his boat nearly to splinters. While awaiting repairs, winter set in and the Vardar froze over, locking Speck in place for months.
Lia Ditton is a 39-year-old licensed sea captain, yachtswoman and solo ocean rower from London. She has racked up over 150,000 miles on the sea and has taken part in some of the most grueling races on earth, such as the OSTAR transatlantic race, the Le Route du Rhum, and the Woodvale challenge. And she’s about to embark on her greatest challenge yet, rowing solo and unsupported across the Pacific Ocean. This is her story.
Three months before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, I will depart from Choshi, Japan, on a mission to row 5,500 miles alone and unsupported, across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of the USA. Nineteen attempts have been made to row this distance. Two were successful. Both men, both towed to land the last 20 and 50 miles respectively. One person was lost at sea.
If I succeed, I will be the first woman ever to row the North Pacific unsupported and the first person to row land-to-land [ed note: Sarah Outen rowed the North Pacific solo from Japan to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, but with a support team, back in 2013].
This video was shot in the Arctic Ocean in March 2018.
For 7 days the crew passed through the Barents Sea to Karsky around the Novaya Zemlya archipelago on the nuclear icebreaker Yamal. They witnessed the northern lights, polar bears, watched the ships stuck in the ice being towed, and were very cold.
In the video you can see two Russian icebreakers – “50 Years of Victory” and “Yamal” with a capacity of 75,000 horsepower.
Voyageurs is the French translation for voyager – a person who goes on a long and sometimes dangerous journey. However, in Canadian history, the term has an added significance.
This 1964 National Film Board film tells the story of the men who drove big freighter canoes into the wilderness in the days when the fur trade was Canada’s biggest business. The film recreates scenes of the early 19th century.
Russian adventurer and orthodox priest Fedor Konyukhov thanked his patron saint after completing the 7,000-mile first leg of his solo journey around the southern hemisphere in a rowing boat. On this, the first leg of his circumnavigation, he survived snow storms, 25ft waves, and was capsizing four times. Continue reading
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