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Jim Shekhdar, Adventurer
Jim Shekhdar, Adventurer
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW WITH JIM SHEKHDAR, ADVENTURER APRIL 22ND, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST:

Right now I'm joined by another great sportsman with a fantastic different achievement to his name. Jim Shekhdar who's become the first person in the world to row 10,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean single-handed, or with both hands and without any help. He completed his own marathon which lasted no less than 275 days and he is with me now. First of all congratulations.

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Thank you very much.

DAVID FROST:

You've retained quite a bit of the Old Testament Prophet that you became as the hair grew?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Slightly tidier.

DAVID FROST:

Slightly tidier, yes. But did you set out to grow a beard or just it's a bore to shave because you're not shaving for anybody?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Well I, I actually grew a beard about 20 years ago when I had my second batch of chicken pox and had the scars and I discovered shaving was a chore.

DAVID FROST:

But it just went, grew further?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Oh yes, it's not usually this long.

DAVID FROST:

No, no, very elegant, very elegant indeed. Why did you do it Jim?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Shave my beard or row the Pacific?

DAVID FROST:

In any order?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

The beard was uncomfortable as it was, the Pacific I guess because it was there, is one of the answers, to prove something to myself, make my family proud. Because I was 50 I think, probably is the main reason.

DAVID FROST:

Ah yes, very probably too. Make your family proud, your wife was, wouldn't be just proud if you did it again, would she, she'd be a bit annoyed, wouldn't she?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Well that's what she said the first time when I did the Atlantic but she was more annoyed the second time I think, yes.

DAVID FROST:

So will there be a third time?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Possibly, yes, there may well be.

DAVID FROST:

She's watching, I warn you she's watching?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

I can't announce it until I have the funding in place this time.

DAVID FROST:

And the written permission from her?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Absolutely, yes.

DAVID FROST:

Now what was the greatest danger you were in, it was a large ship coming close by was it?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Yes I, I looked out of the hatch about three o'clock in the morning having been woken by a large noise and I saw a hundred feet of steel heading straight for me. That was scary, that's the only time in my life I've been affected like that, I was quite wobbly for a week after that.

DAVID FROST:

Yes, that is terrifying. Now how did you manage, on that boat which we just saw, how did you manage to get enough food onto that boat for 250-plus days?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Well I was only planning five months, it took nine, but I took 6,000 calories per day for five and a half months.

DAVID FROST:

What do you mean in, in vitamin pills as they say in America?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

No I, well I actually had a supplement called G-Push for the vitamins and energy but pre-cooked vacuum packed expedition foods were the main staples with, with things like pasta and rice which I took, which was okay until the stoves packed up about seven months out then I had to soak it in cold water rather than boil it which wasn't quite so pleasant.

DAVID FROST:

Sir Francis Chichester I remember saying that he found communication difficult when he came back from his solo trip round the world, did you find that, I mean it's lonely, you've no one to talk to except the Tuna or whatever?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Yes I had the Tuna and I practised talking, I, I sang to myself probably a little bit, but I certainly swore at the sea a lot and spoke to the, spoke to the fishes. I had, I had absolutely no problems, I mean now I'm back it's very strange because it seems like it didn't take that long, while I was out there it was interminable.

DAVID FROST:

Yes I mean the most obvious thought would be that the loneliness was terrifying, was difficult, but I mean were you actually lonely or were you just alone?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Well the solitude for the first two months, until I discovered it was going to take a long time was, was terrific for me, I enjoyed it. I was alone and I was more alone when I didn't have communications, telephone, I was without a telephone for two months and that puts you completely apart from the rest of the world. All I could do was listen to a short-wave radio and while I was out of range of a satellite, that was, yeah it was more traumatic, not because I was worried about myself, just because I couldn't get news from home, pretty silly really but that's how it works.

DAVID FROST:

And what about, you haven't decided on the third trip, for the reasons we mentioned earlier, sponsorship and family and so on and so forth. What would be the challenges that remain, when you've done the Pacific what is there left?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Well I'm looking for ideas but I've got to find something which is within the constraints of a decrepit old body, I mean this is the problem, I need to do it before I'm 60 I'm sure. There must be something that hasn't been done before.

DAVID FROST:

Can you go right round the world rowing or not?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

It is a possibility.

DAVID FROST:

It is.

JIM SHEKHDAR:

I believe, most people don't.

DAVID FROST:

And are you in fact a fitter man for it?

JIM SHEKHDAR:

I am much fitter, oh I'm lighter and that probably makes me fitter, yes I believe so, both mentally and physically.

DAVID FROST:

Well congratulations again.

JIM SHEKHDAR:

Thank you very much.

DAVID FROST:

Thank you very much indeed there, our hero.

END

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