CAVE Man of the Week: John Fairfax, “The Most Interesting Man in the World”

30’s: Row, row, row your boat

Since an early age, Fairfax was an avid reader of books on rowing. In the mid-1960s, Fairfax moved to his father’s native England to prepare for his epic row. John treated his fitness as a full-time job. He ran two miles daily, did two hours of swimming and weight training, and finally three to four hours of rowing. In 1969, John Fairfax became the first person in history to cross the Atlantic Ocean by rowboat, a feat that made him famous internationally. His 5000 mile journey took him from the Canary Islands to Florida. During the row which took months to complete, Fairfax dealt with sharks, storms and exhaustion. Fairfax kept a daily log of his travel.

In 1972, Fairfax again set off to the seas, this time accompanied by his girlfriend, Sylvia Cook. The pair became the first known people to row across the Pacific Ocean, from San Francisco to Australia. The journey, 8000 miles long, took a year to complete. On the Pacific, John was attacked by a shark, which took a big chunk of his arm.

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