Adventure Sport

Adventurer John Fairfax dies

2012-02-19 19:16
John Fairfax in his younger days (File)

Los Angeles - John Fairfax, a self-proclaimed "professional adventurer" who became famous in 1969 as the first person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean, has died near Las Vegas at the age of 74.

Fairfax was born in Italy to a British father and a Bulgarian mother, grew up in Argentina, and led a colourful life that included stretches as a big-game hunter and even a cigarette smuggler.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the death of John Fairfax," Ocean Rowing Society International, for which Fairfax served on the steering committee, said in a notice posted on its website.

The group said he died at his home on February 8, while US media said that the cause of death was an apparent heart attack.

Ocean Rowing Society International wrote that Fairfax spent six months "alone on the Atlantic battling storms, sharks and encroaching madness" during his heroic feat, before doing it all again across the Pacific.

He made both ocean crossings, the group wrote, "because the lure of sea, spray and sinew, and the history-making chance to traverse two oceans without steam or sail, proved irresistible."

All alone and with grit and sheer force of will, he powered his 22-foot (6.7m) rowboat "Britannia" from Gran Canaria to Hollywood Beach, Florida.

A couple of years later, he rowed across the Pacific with his then-girlfriend Sylvia Cook, an ocean crossing that took him a full year to complete, from April 1971 to April 1972.

Both journeys created a media frenzy and made Fairfax world-famous, inspiring two memoirs: "Britannia: Rowing Alone Across the Atlantic" and, with Cook, "Oars Across the Pacific," both published in the early 1970s.

In its tribute to the noted oarsman, Ocean Rowing Society International wrote: "When Fairfax was asked what he did for a living, he would usually answer, 'I'm a professional adventurer. I not only enjoy it, I try to make money off it'."

Fairfax is survived by his wife Tiffany, a professional astrologer.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

Which of the following floats your Extreme Sports boat?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.