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Last Man Sailing

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    As climate change causes more extreme weather conditions, sailing expeditions become more dangerous.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Arved Fuchs was the first person to reach both the North and South Pole on foot in the same year.
    • He has witnessed climate change first-hand over the past two decades, especially in the form of polar ice retreating.
    • At 62 years old, Mr. Fuchs still goes on expeditions around the world.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Arved Fuchs startet zu Expedition
German adventurer Arved Fuchs on his boat "Dagmar Aen". Source: DPA

It’s the wind that’s his toughest enemy, always the wind. When Arved Fuchs crossed Antarctica in 1989, it was the headwinds that made the trip an ordeal.

Together with one of Europe’s most famous mountaineers, German-speaking Reinhold Messner, Mr. Fuchs had set out to travel all across the frozen continent, planning on using paragliders on their sleds to speed up the journey.

But the icy wind had made the terrain rugged, or it faced them head on.

The two men inched their way to the South Pole by foot, only on their way back to the coast they could use the paragliders. Mr. Fuchs spent a total of 92 days crossing the world’s most inhospitable continent.

Yet, almost 30 years later, it’s still the wind that makes the professional adventurer’s life a challenge. Just last summer, the 62-year-old was on his way back from Patagonia in South America to his native Germany, when he got caught in a storm. “Adverse weather,” is what Mr. Fuchs called it.

Blasts of force 10 on the Beaufort scale hit his antique sailing boat “Dagmar Aaen” and giant waves buried it. “It was an extreme experience,” Mr. Fuchs said. “A crushing wave hitting the deck just washes you away, you can’t hold on.” That’s when it came down to the safety rope.

“I was struggling to survive,” he added, uttering the words in the most casual fashion.

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