Dunedin the launchpad for world record row effort

A famous Russian adventurer is in Dunedin, with plans to row solo around the world.

Fedor Konyukhov, 67, has an impressive CV.  He's climbed Mt Everest twice, hiked to both the North and South Poles, and sailed around the world four times.

Rainy Dunedin days this month haven't fazed the veteran explorer, as he prepares to launch a new world record attempt at circumnavigating the earth in a rowboat.

"The mission is to try and row around the world and the Southern Ocean from New Zealand", Mr Konyukhov says.

"Going around Cape Horn, and back to New Zealand, over three legs."

Extreme adventures are nothing new for the ordained Orthodox priest.

Two years ago he flew solo around the world in a hot-air balloon - the fastest to do so.  And in 2014 he broke the record for rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean.

"You know I'm not afraid of solitude", he says.

"Because you're not alone in the ocean. You've got birds, whales, you have albatross, dolphins.  And I'm not afraid of physical work."

He's not afraid of the cold either, having climbed Mt Everest twice, and completed expeditions to both the North and South Poles.

The team's launching his latest adventure here because of a strong interest in Dunedin's Royal Albatross Colony.

Mr Konyukhov describes the seabirds as having been his main companions during previous round the world sailings.

"They are the only birds that are flying around the boat", he says.

"And they follow me for many many days, even months."

For this next 3-leg journey, he'll be in a modern carbon fibre rowboat.

Along with storing more than 4 months of food, it's fitted with the latest technology to track his location, and keep him as comfortable as possible.

British company Rannoch Adventure custom built his Konyukhov's previous rowboat K9, which he crossed the Pacific from Chile to Australia in, during his non-stop solo ocean row in 2014.

"Obviously the last project was to keep him cool", Boat builder Mike Wood says.

"And in this one we have to keep him warm (for the Southern Ocean). So we've actually developed heating systems in his living area."

The first leg of Mr Konyukhov's three-year journey is set to hit the water in a few weeks time.