Jim Shekhdar - the first man to row across the Pacific Ocean - was at the London Boat Show today signing copies of his book Bold Man of the Sea
Jim Shekhdar became the first man to row across the Pacific Ocean when he landed on North Stradbroke Island, Queensland on 30th March 2001. There were memorable TV pictures of Shekhdar wading through the surf after his boat capsized, for the first time in 274 days, in the surf 200 metres from land.
“The last ten yards was worth the 274 days – not much else was – but getting there is everything,” said Shekhdar. “I cannot imagine what it feels like for the guys who rowed 6,000-7,000 miles on the North Pacific then got run over by a trawler, it must be soul destroying. It takes so much effort to get to the start and then to get run over… I nearly got run over by a huge tanker in the middle of the night. That was terrifying but to actually have it happen – I just can’t imagine.”
Shekhdar’s unconventional, if spectacular, landing caused some observers to speculate whether or not Shekhdar had completed his trans-Pacific row. With a wry smile, Shekhdar dismisses such mischievious claims. “I did actually walk ashore, but what’s the difference between landing on a jetty and walking up a beach? I swam the last 200 metres, I admit. The boat wanted to get there first, I think. I did try to get back into it once but it rolled again so I thought it best to leave it – it ripped my leg a bit and it was a bit painful.”
One of the unexpected benefits from his voyage was its inspirational value to others. “It has made a couple of changes in other people’s lives. I got an e-mail from someone who read the book and actually became the fourth member of Mark Stubbs’ team to try to break the North Atlantic record in a four-man boat next June. I’ve had e-mails, letters and contact through the website from people who have actually done things that they’ve always wanted to do. They haven’t rowed oceans but one guy tried to walk across Columbia, another one tried to run 100 yards with one leg – the inspirational part of it is fantastic, it’s really pleasing.”
Now recovered from his mammoth row, Shekhdar’s feet are as itchy as ever. “I’m announcing the next expedition on 30th March but I still haven’t got the main sponsor in place,” he said. “We’re having a big charity bash on 30th March and I’m hoping that I will have a major sponsor onboard by then and I’ll certainly be announcing what I’m going to do next.”
If you want to help Jim celebrate the first anniversary of his landing, hear some more about his next adventure and maybe even offer the financial support he needs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org , call his mobile on 44 (0)7971 166714 or his landline on 44 (0)1923 822411.