Fyodor Konyukhov … an extraordinary adventure
Fedor Filippovich Konyukhov was born on December 12, 1951. He is a Ukrainian survivalist, traveller, mountaineer, yacht captain and balloon pilot. In December 2010, he was ordained as an Eastern Orthodox priest in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
As a young man Konyukhov attended a nautical school in Odessa and another in Leningrad earning a specialty in polar navigation. Subsequently, he worked as a professional navigator and marine engineer. He served 3 years in the Soviet Navy. He was stationed in a Kaliningrad guardhouse with the Baltic Fleet when he volunteered for a 2 year tour of duty as a Soviet Marine sailing across the South China Sea as special forces delivering munitions to the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
As a result of his service in the Soviet Armed Forces, he came to hate the terrible realities of war and completed a vocational arts school in Bobruisk which enabled him to become a successful painter and sculptor. He is a winner of the Gold Medal of the Russian Arts Academy, an Honorary Academician of the Russian Arts Academy and the creator of more than 3,000 paintings. He has participated in a number of Russian and international exhibitions.
In December 2010, he was ordained as an Eastern Orthodox priest in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Most of us would call this a pretty eventful life.
In May 2008, Konyukhov completed a solo circumnavigation of Antarctica in a sailboat, becoming the first person to do so.
In 2013 he became the first priest of the Russian Orthodox Church to successfully climb Mt. Everest. He took the icon of St. Nicholas to the Summit with him.
From December 22, 2013 to May 31, 2014 he rowed across the Pacific Ocean starting in the Chilean port of Concon and finishing in Australian town of Mooloolaba (Sunshine Coast) without entering ports and without any external help or assistance. He covered the distance of more than 17,408 km (9400 nautical miles) on the Turgoyak (K9) rowboat in just 162 days.
On 23 July 2016, Konyukhov became the second person to circumnavigate the world in a hybrid hot-air helium balloon. American Steve Fossett is the only other person to have completed the feat, having done so in 2002 on his sixth attempt. Konyukhov took “just over 11 days”, as opposed to Fossett’s 13 days.
In February 2017 he and fellow professional balloonist, Ivan Menyailo beat the absolute hot air balloon non-stop flight world record of over 50 hours.
He is the only person to have reached such extreme points of the planet as the North Pole (three times), the South Pole, the Pole of Inaccessibility in the Arctic Ocean and the top of Mount Everest (twice) and also sailed around the world via Cape Horn 4 times.
He is the first Russian mountaineer to complete the 7 Summits challenge for which a person must climb the highest mountains of each of the seven major continents.