Life of John Fairfax was the first man to row alone across the Atlantic Ocean. This film will explore Fairfax’s story. 

British self-proclaimed ‘professional adventurer’ was a star when, in 1969, he crossed the Atlantic in his own rowboat.

On the 6-month journey of 5,000 miles from Canary Islands, to Florida, he dealt with storms, sharks, and exhaustion.

According to, Rob Goodrich and Jason Armstrong of Walk Like a Duck Entertainment have acquired the rights to the film, with a statement reading: ‘While we’ve all become overly-connected to technology, special media and new forms of peer pressures, John Fairfax fought one battle: John vs the world, regardless of fanfare or perception.’

A life on the high seas: John Fairfax stands beside his 22-foot rowing boat, Britannia, at King George V Dock in London, prior to sailing to the Canary Islands from where he rowed to Miami

John Fairfax: A life at the top of the seas. John Fairfax is pictured beside Britannia (his 22-foot rowing vessel) in King George V Dock, London. He was preparing to sail to the Canary Islands, from which he rode to Miami. 

The self-professed 'professional adventurer', who was British, gained international attention in 1969 when he became the first person in recorded history to cross the Atlantic alone in a rowboat

British-born self-described ‘professional adventurer,’ he was recognized internationally in 1969 as the first rowboat to traverse the Atlantic.

He dealt with sharks, storms and exhaustion on the six-month, 5,000-mile journey from the Canary Islands to Florida

On his six-month-long, 5,000-mile trip from Canary Islands to Florida, he had to deal with hurricanes, sharks and exhaustion.

John was boBorn 21 May 1937 in Rome, to an English father who was a BBC worker and whom he didn’t know well, and a Bulgarian mom.

He was adventurous and rebellious from a young age, and was expelled  from the Italian Boy Scouts for shooting a revolver in a hut containing other Scouts.

John was thirteen when his mother and John moved to Argentina. John left the comforts of home for a life in the jungle, ‘like Tarzan.

He managed to survive by trading skins with the local peasants and hunting.

John dreamed of crossing the Atlantic solo for much of his life before he finally undertook the challenge (pictured in 1968 with his rowboat, Britannia)

John had dreamt of crossing the Atlantic alone for a lot of his adult life. He finally took on the challenge in 1968, pictured with Britannia his rowboat. 

John , then-31, in his 24 foot wood and fibre glass boat "Britannia" at Cowes, Isle of Wight, Hampshire in England on Dec. 15, 1968

John, aged 31 at the time, was riding his wood- and fibreglass boat, “Britannia”, 24 feet long, to Cowes on the Isle of Wight in Hampshire, England, Dec. 15, 1968

After reading about Frank Samuelsen, George Harbo and their adventures across the Atlantic in books, he started to imagine sailing across it. 

Later, he studied philosophy and literature at a university near Buenos Aires. After a terrible breakup at 20 with his partner, he tried to’suicide by jaguar’. 

In case of doubt, he kept a pistol with him. He did and shot the jaguar.  

1958: He flew to New York City, then drove to San Francisco. 

The self-righting and self-bailing boat Britannia was designed by Uffa Fox (pictured, John rowing)

 The self-righting and self-bailing boat Britannia was designed by Uffa Fox (pictured, John rowing)

John - who was born in Rome and went on to live in Argentina during his adventurous life - launched his boat in December 1968

 John – who was born in Rome and went on to live in Argentina during his adventurous life – launched his boat in December 1968

He decided that he would return by bicycle to Argentina with his mother after he had run out of cash.

John reached Guatemala before he hitchhiked to Panama.

He spent three years in Panama smuggling cigarettes, whiskey, and guns after a short stint as a seaman on a Colombian ship. 

He was rescued by pirates and authorities after a daring escape. 

While at sea, John was at home - having spent time as a sailor on a Colombian boat and three years living as a pirate

John, a former sailor aboard a Colombian ship and three years as a pirate while at sea was also at home. 

The adventurer went on to row his 24-foot boat more than 3,000 miles across the Atlantic (pictured)

He then rowed his boat of 24 feet more than 3000 miles across the Atlantic. (Image: 

It was then he read of Chay Blyth and John Ridgway’s successful row across the Atlantic and realised that if he wanted to be the first person to row solo across the Atlantic he would have to do it soon.

After returning to England it took Fairfax two years to prepare, with the adventurer taking daily rows across the Serpentine to train. 

After spending 180 days on the water, he was the first to solo row across oceans. He arrived in Florida after having started from Canary Islands. 

Uffa Fox designed the self-correcting, self-bailing yacht Britannia.

On 19 July 1969 he became the first person to row solo across an ocean when he arrived in Florida having set off from the Canary Islands

He became the first solo sailor to cross an ocean alone on the 19th of July 1969, after he set out from Canary Islands.

He was so significant that astronauts sent him a message on Earth to express their appreciation. 

We who sail in what President Kennedy used to call ‘The new sea of space’, we are proud to honor the man who single-handedly conquered that still formidable ocean, wrote astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin A. Aldrin Jr. 

It wasn’t over for his seabound adventures.   

Sylvia Cook and he became the first people to sail across the Pacific Ocean in 1972.

The adventure lasted a full year, and many believed their boat was lost at sea.  

On the journey of 8,000 miles from San Francisco, he was saved by a shark attack as well as a cyclone.

In 1972, he and his then girlfriend Sylvia Cook became the first known people to row across the Pacific Ocean

He and Sylvia Cook, his girlfriend at the time, became the first to cross the Pacific Ocean.

John rowed daily on the Serpentine to train for his adventures alongside his girlfriend Sylvia (pictured)

John rode daily on the Serpentine with Sylvia, his girlfriend (pictured). 

Fairfax wrote two separate books that covered his ocean crossings. They were published together in the 1970s. 

John took two custom-made vessels on his ocean voyages, and he relied upon the stars for guidance.

The man survived on eight-pounds of fish per day, and a system that converted ocean water to drinking water.

Tiffany, his wife said that a shark tore off a large portion of her husband’s arm while he speared fish in the Pacific.  

John used two different custom-made boats on the ocean journeys and looked to the stars to help him navigate

John used two boats that he had built for his journey on the ocean and relied on the stars to guide him.

John also spoke five languages, was a talented chef and regularly played the card game baccarat at Las Vegas casinos, his wife said

John was fluent in five languages and a skilled chef. He also played baccarat regularly at Las Vegas casino casinos. His wife said that John could speak other languages.

If you’re on the Pacific Ocean where there are no hospitals, you will need to row. He was an extraordinary, remarkable human being. 

He did however downplay his talent and bravery in interviews. He told the Ocean Rowing Society International that anyone with some knowledge can sail.

“I want to fight with the natural world, raw and primitive.” 

His wife stated that John could also speak five languages and was an excellent chef. He often played baccarat in Las Vegas casinos.

She said that he believed anyone could achieve anything, provided they were confident. He would have an idea and then go for it .”’.   

The adventurer was drawn to the sea because he wanted a 'battle with nature, primitive and raw' (pictured with Sylvia)

Sylvia and the adventurer were drawn to the sea by his desire for a battle with nature. 

He died on February 8 2012 of an apparent heart attack at his Las Vegas home, with Tiffany paying tribute at the time: ‘He was a man of unbelievable strength and courage and confidence in everything he did. 

He believed nature was worth the effort, and loved nature. 

Tiffany, who will act as an executive producer on the film, said that John Fairfax is her love. He is my hero. My soulmate. And my king.

‘John lived a million lives in the span of one and I’m so excited for the world to see this man exactly as he was and I’m confident Walk Like a Duck is the perfect company to achieve this.”’ 

Ex-Royal Marine, 49, who suffers from a FEAR of water becomes the first person to row unsupported across the Atlantic ocean – and he took the most dangerous route, too! 

An ex-Royal Marine, who is afraid of water, became the first to unsupported row across the Atlantic using the dangerous northern route. 

Dave ‘Dinger’ Bell, 49, departed from New York on his solar powered boat on May 31 before battling tropical storms, 10ft high waves and his self-confessed fear of open water.

After a 119-day journey alone at sea, Mr Bell described feeling physically trembling as he arrived in Newyln (Cornwall) in September. 

This is his first solo, unsupported row from North America to Europe. It is a journey of 3,000 miles that is extremely dangerous because of the strong currents and freezing temperatures.

Dave 'Dinger' Bell, 49, departed from New York on May 31 and arrived at Newyln, Cornwall, yesterday

David ‘Dinger” Bell (49), left New York City on May 31, and arrived in Newyln, Cornwall yesterday

He would average 12 hours per day, and sleep in small cabins during the night.

He encountered whales and dolphins along the way, as well as swordfish, and was even stung once by a jellyfish.

Bell finished his final stretch by rowing non-stop 40 hours, fighting against harsh conditions on the Scilly Isles.

This route has not been taken more than 60 times.

Frank Rothwell (70 years old) became the oldest unaided rower across the Atlantic in January. However, he crossed the Atlantic from Antigua to Canary Islands.

The former Royal Marine (pictured approaching Newlyn) battled tropical storms, 10ft high waves and his self-confessed fear of open water

Pictured approaching Newlyn, the former Royal Marine battled against tropical storms, high waves of 10 feet and open water fear.

Mr Bell has become the first person ever to row solo and unsupported from North America to Europe

Bell is the first man to solo row unsupported between North America and Europe.