With support from COMSAT, Fedor Konioukhov is set to continue his round-the-world quest

Fedor Konioukhov did not become one of the contemporary world’s foremost explorers and adventurers by lying down when the going got treacherous. When last weekend he relayed the news that he was withdrawing from Around Alone, he also hinted that while his racing days were coming to a close, he was not exactly abandoning the idea of completing his round-the-world voyage. Yesterday, citing the support he would continue to receive from race communications sponsor COMSAT Mobile Communications, Konioukhov announced his plan to push forth with his solo circumnavigation, half of which he has put behind him during the first two legs of Around Alone. After all, Konioukhov is not the sort of fellow to leave a job half finished.

“There are many benefits that COMSAT receives by supporting events like Around Alone,” said COMSAT official Katy Ackland. “Getting to work with and know people like Fedor is one of them. He’s an adventurer and a dreamer, and since he’s arrived in Auckland we’ve been able to sit down with him and talk about his future plans. In order to help him accomplish his goal of sailing around the world alone, we’ve made an arrangement to supply him with communications and safety services for the rest of the voyage so he can continue to fulfill his dreams.”

Under the plan, Konioukhov will set off on the next leg of his voyage soon after the 6 February start for Leg 3 of Around Alone. In accordance with his status as a retired competitor, Konioukhov’s position information will no longer be listed on any official race updates. But thanks to COMSAT, Konioukhov will sail on with his full array of satellite communications gear onboard, and his position updates will continue to be forwarded to race communications in Charleston–and to Konioukhov’s shore team in Moscow–four times daily. Race director Mark Schrader sees it as a win-win situation.

“Fedor’s told me that he’s enjoyed being part of the race,” said Schrader, “but he’s also got a bigger agenda, which is to finish what has essentially become a round-the-world expedition. He’s got sponsors back home who want him to continue and to whom he’s made commitments, and to fulfill those commitments he needs a way to communicate. COMSAT has given him that. The next leg, which takes the fleet around Cape Horn, is pretty dangerous, and Fedor intended to keep going whether he had our support or not. This way, our group in Charleston will be watching his progress and know his whereabouts through the Southern Ocean. If any of our folks got in trouble down there, it’s possible that Fedor could be an important resource in an emergency. For that reason, I’m happy for our team to watch his progress. And should Fedor have a problem, we’d be able to notify rescue authorities straightaway.”

With Konioukhov’s situation resolved, Robin Davie is the final Around Alone competitor for whom the immediate future remains a question mark. At 0944 GMT today, Davie was 568 miles from Auckland and making nearly 10 knots. Schrader said he did not expect to see Davie before this Saturday’s restart. In an email note to race ops today, Davie said he had spent the previous two days working to sort out a workable jury rig for his damaged rudder, but that his repairs had held for just 24 hours. He then fashioned an emergency rig with the rudder for his Monitor windvane. “We’ll make it into Auckland yet,” he said. “We may be down, but we certainly aren’t out…”