Don't do it again: rower rescued from the Pacific faces court ban

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The Independent Online

A veteran British rower rescued after his boat capsized on his second attempt to row from New Zealand to South Africa may have to go to court if he wants to try again.

Jim Shekhdar, 57, was picked up on Tuesday night by the New Zealand fisheries research ship Tangaroa, which is due to dock on 10 December. His 26-foot boat, Hornette, capsized about 745 miles into his 8,800-mile voyage.

Speaking to New Zealand radio, Mr Shekhdar said he would not rule out a third attempt. "It's scary out there. I'd hate to think I can't achieve it, because it is achievable."

His plans may be thwarted by New Zealand's Maritime Safety Authority (MSA), which said it was considering applying safety legislation on the seaworthiness of boats to prevent him. "We would be strongly advising him against it," an MSA spokeswoman said.

Mr Shekhdar left New Zealand on 5 November and intended to reach Cape Town in the spring after rounding Cape Horn on the stormy tip of South America, where temper-atures can drop to minus 35C.

He said the violent winds that ended his second journey caught him by surprise. His first attempt ended last month when his navigation system and generator broke.

"I'm still a little emotional ... I really didn't want to be here. But I'm very grateful to everybody who worked so hard to get me here," he said.

In 2000, Mr Shekhdar, from Northwood, north-west London, cancelled a hip operation and became the first person to row solo across the Pacific, taking 274 days from Peru to Australia and surviving shark attacks. He began rowing only six years ago, when he crossed the Atlantic with fellow adventurer David Jackson.

Asked what his wife, Jane and daughters Sarah, 22, and Anna, 24, felt about his latest expedition, he said: "I think they're resigned to it. I believe they're not as worried about this one as the last one."