‘Reverse Viking’ row: Norfolk to Denmark in pursuit of re-writing of the history of exploration

This Saturday, 08 August, Christian Havrehed, Danish adventurer, inspirational speaker & EwC Adventure Ambassador, will push off in an ocean-going rowing boat destined for Copenhagen in Denmark. This 300-nautical mile journey will include rowing both in the North Sea and up the Eider Kanal across Germany just as the Vikings did centuries ago. Setting out from Lowestoft Marina in Suffolk on a ‘reverse Viking row’ should take 4-8 days, subject to prevailing winds, weather and busy traffic in the shipping lanes. 

This will not be Christian’s first sea-going row – nor his last! In 2001, he rowed with Chinese athlete, Sun Haibin, across the Atlantic in 56 days, in the newly inaugurated Ward-Evans Atlantic Rowing Challenge.  The purpose of the journey this Saturday is for Christian to take delivery of his new ocean rowing boat, in anticipation of a much larger row next year from Ningbo in Eastern China to Japan in May 2021.

“I believe that history can be brought alive through the medium of adventure,” says Christian. “Since 2001, I have been researching whether the Chinese & Vikings visited America before Columbus. The row commencing on 08 August, together with further historical research and other nautical adventures, will look for physical clues to back up historical claims.” 

The launch date, 08/08, is most auspicious in Chinese culture and is often associated with good luck. As it happens, the captain of this row will be Chris Martin, founder of New Ocean Wave Ltd, and the first person to row across both the Atlantic & the Pacific Oceans. Two marines will also be pulling the oars with them, on a gruelling 2-hour on and two hours off cycle so the crew should be in several pairs of safe hands!

EwC directors, Theresa Booth & H-J Colston, will be at Lowestoft Marina on Saturday morning to cheer on the crew as they meet each other for the first time and familiarise themselves with the boat. The British are obsessed with the weather but, when you are about to set out into the North Sea, busy with ocean-going vessels, it is important to minimise risks, where possible. Subject to the weather and tides, the crew hopes to launch on the afternoon high tide.

Christian’s company is called Yantu, (沿途) which in Chinese means “along the way.” His slogan is, “合作可以更多”or, “together we can do more.” Engage with China is proud to have been nominated as a Campaign support partner for these journeys and will accompany him virtually “along the way” as our logo will be visible on the side of the boat.

Christian hopes to raise funds during these adventures to support cross-cultural understanding and Engage with China hopes that, by supporting Christian’s academic research and these adventures, we can do more together to build China literacy in UK schools by enabling young people to make connections across other curriculum subjects, such as history and geography and build curiosity about China.

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Published by H-J Colston

H-J is Joint CEO of Chopsticks Club and a regular speaker on China. Through training and events, she has been building cultural literacy about China from the boardroom to the classroom since 1993. She designed and delivered a “Doing Business in China” course at Pearson Business School. She was invited to meet President Xi Jinping during his state visit to the UK in 2015 in recognition of her work in building China-UK relations. She has a degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Durham. Find out more at www.chopsticksclub.com and www.engagewithchina.org

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