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Russian Priest Breaks Records While Circumnavigating Southern Hemisphere

Russian Orthodox priest and survivalist Fyodor Konyukhov has broken records while completing the first of his three-leg effort to circumnavigate the Southern Hemisphere in a row boat.

Konyukhov, 67, embarked on the 27,000-kilometer solo voyage from New Zealand in early December. He completed the first leg on Thursday, reaching the southern tip of Chile in 154 days and 13 hours.

“[Fyodor] has shattered all the records!” said Rannoch Adventures, a British company that custom-built Konyukhov’s 9-meter carbon fiber boat.

Becoming the oldest person to row an ocean solo, reaching the southernmost point of the world in a row boat, and total time spent in the Southern Ocean are among some of his feats, the company said on Facebook.

Konyukhov’s records will be verified with the International Ocean Rowing Society and will then be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records, his son and project manager Oscar Konyukhov wrote on the voyager’s personal website.

“Millions of people around the world admire your courage and endurance at sea,” President Vladimir Putin told Konyukhov in a telegram.

Konyukhov was born in current-day Ukraine and was ordained into the church’s Moscow patriarchate in 2010. His accomplishments include circumnavigating the globe four times — including by hot-air balloon — and crossing the Atlantic Ocean at least 15 times. He has also climbed the world’s seven highest peaks known as the Seven Summits and reached the North, South and earth’s three other extreme poles.

Konyukhov is expected to embark on the second leg of the trip from Chile to southwestern Australia later this year, then complete the round-the-world trip back in New Zealand in 2020.

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