Adventurer's Persistence Beats Perils of the Pacific; Jim Shekhdar Overcame Sharks and a Near-Miss with a Supertanker to Row into the Record Books, Reports John Revill

The Birmingham Post (England), March 31, 2001 | Go to article overview

Adventurer's Persistence Beats Perils of the Pacific; Jim Shekhdar Overcame Sharks and a Near-Miss with a Supertanker to Row into the Record Books, Reports John Revill


After rowing more than 10,000 miles across the world's largest ocean, the sea was to have one last laugh on Jim Shekdhar.

Despite overcoming the treacherous waters between Peru and Australia and becoming the first man to row unaided across the Pacific Ocean, the waves were determined to give him a final soaking.

The 54-year-old civil engineer endured cyclones, shark attacks and a near-miss with a supertanker during his marathon 274-day journey at sea.

But as he arrived in Brisbane yesterday, Mr Shekhdar's ordeal was not over as huge breakers battered into his boat, Le Shark.

The 23ft-long craft was swamped by the waves and Mr Shekhdar, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, was tipped into the water, forcing him to swim the final 200 feet to dry land.

There he was met at the shoreline by his wife, Jane, their daughters, Anna, aged 21, and Sarah, aged 19, and his sister Jan Bennett, who flew to Australia.

'When I said it was what I was going to do nobody believed me, so I thought I'd better do it. There's a lot more attention at the end than there was at the beginning,' he said.

'Not many people expected me to finish. But they didn't count on me being resistant, determined and persistent.

'My only doubt was whether I would go insane being by myself in a small boat in a large ocean for so long.'

Mr Shekhdar admitted his landing was not quite how he had hoped.

'I had been warned about the surf, but being big-headed, I took my eye off the waves for a split second and capsized. One of the oars broke and hit me, but it didn't really hurt,' he said.

'It's the only time I capsized during the entire journey, although I came close once or twice when the boat tipped 90 degrees.

'I've had shark attacks, I've been hit by a fishing boat and I was almost run over by a tanker. That was the worst. My family have been wondering what I have been doing. …

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