Meet Your Team & Crew

Leven Brown

Leven Brown

Expedition Leader & Skipper

Leven Brown is one of the most experienced and highly regarded ocean rowing skippers in the world. He is a multiple Guinness World Record holder and survival expert.

Leven’s experience is second to none, his first ocean row – solo and unsupported from mainland Spain to Trinidad & Tobago – taught him the greatest respect for the ocean, and he gained great knowledge having no one else to rely on but himself in challenging situations.

Since then, Leven has rowed over 30,000 nautical miles, including the Trade Winds route several times, the North Atlantic from New York to the Scilly Isles and across the Indian Ocean from Western Australia to the Seychelles.

Leven’s experience of skippering ocean rowing teams and his endless energy and enthusiasm gives great encouragement to crew and sponsors alike. He will push himself to the limit and inspire his fellow ocean rowers to achieve their goals.

LEVEN’S WIKIPEDIA ENTRY

David Flett

David Flett

Ocean Rower

In 2011, 17 adventurers and Davie Flett rowed a traditional Ness Yoal from Shetland to the Faroes covering the 200 mile in approximately 45 hours and he has never looked back.

Since, he founded the Orkney Rowing Club and organized an around Orkney Row for the members, which saw 42 Orcadians getting the chance to row in more open water and through the hours of darkness and some very strong tidal streams. 

Flett’s exploits were featured in 2016 on the BBC programme, called Neolithic Orkney in which they were trying to prove that it was possible to travel thousands of years earlier. The boat that was used was constructed from Willow tree branches and cow hide, this proved very successful making a crossing of the Pentland Firth in just under five hours. 

Now Flett is taking on another ancient travelers’ route, in his quest to row the Northwest Passage in 

 

Phil Kite

Phil Kite

Ocean Rower

Over the last 30 years Phil has led some of the more innovative engineering businesses in the North East of England. He spent 20 years in the Steel Foundry Industry and more recently he was the CEO of the Reece Group and Non-Executive Director of Make UK, the voice of UK manufacturing.

At age 56, with a burning ambition to do something completely different, Phil announced his departure from the Reece Group and founded his own four-man rowing team, Team Tyne Innovation, with the goal of competing in the world’s toughest row, the 3,000 mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Despite facing extreme weather conditions and intense physical challenges, Team Tyne Innovation crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 42 days 10 hours and 26 minutes, a new world record time for a mixed four.

The Northwest Passage team will need all his experience and leadership in the Arctic. 

Jack Hopkins

Jack Hopkins

Ocean Rower

Jack Hopkins has eight years of rowing experience, and has competed in rowing tournaments as far away as South Korea (DGIST2017). Jack was member of the 1st VIII at Darwin College, Cambridge, and was the Sports Officer for the college.

But all his years of pulling strokes through the waters of the UK pale into insignificance compared to his most recent and epic exploits. 

In 2018, Hopkins crossed Atlantic in 40 days as part of team Atlantic Discovery. Previously, Jack broke the Concept2 world record for distance on a rowing machine as part of a small mixed team.

Hopkins has an in depth knowledge of the history of the Northwest Passage. Explorers like Franklin and Cook inspired him to take up the mantel and attempt the last great first on earth.  

 

Allan Huntly

Allan Huntly

Ocean Rower

Allan Huntly, a 52 year old retired firefighter, runs a plumbing and heating business. He is married with two daughters and has a very understanding wife.

The quiet honest life of a small business owner and father bellies his adventurist spirit and achievements. Huntly was part of Kites record breaking crew, that rowed across the Atlantic in 42 days 10 hours, the fastest mixed team in history. 

He is a lifelong motorcyclist, has ridden round Australia and toured extensively through Europe now taking part in motorcycle enduro.

Flying hang gliders and microlights since his early twenties, he has flown extensively around the world. The team is hoping his understanding of wind will pay dividends when the the mercury plummets in the Northwest Passage. 

Kenneth Valles

Kenneth Valles

Ocean Rower

Kenneth Valles is many things – an alpinist, author, and researcher from the United States. Born and raised in the wilderness of Colorado, he began climbing at a young age, amassing experience across a variety of mountaineering disciplines, including wilderness medical response.

Valles has lead expeditions on six continents, summiting peaks in many of the planet’s great ranges including the Andes and the Himalayas.

He has spent most of his career focused on global humanitarian efforts. Early work with international social and medical development projects led to an interest in humanitarian response.

As we speak, he is undergoing doctoral training in medicine (M.D.) and biomedical science (Ph.D.) at the Mayo Clinic. His medical experience will be vital up North.

Daniel Lobjoit

Daniel Lobjoit

Ocean Rower

Lobjoit is a 26-year-old South African currently working as a paramedic on the east coast of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.

From his early days growing up in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana, he fell in love with nature and the outdoors.

As a teenager, he developed a liking for endurance sports and was part of a four-person team that attempted to cross the Okavango Delta by foot. So, he is no stranger to human powered endeavours. 

He has traveled, sailed, climbed and skydived in California and peddling a bicycle around the Somme Battlefields in France. He is now studying emergency medical care, a useful string to his bow in the Northwest Passage.

Daniel Kritzinger

Daniel Kritzinger

Ocean Rower / GP

Another South African with indispensable medical experience – a general practitioner with an interest in emergency medicine and family practice.

As soon as he heard of the Northwest Passage expedition, Kritzinger could not resist signing up, to make bonds for life with his crew mates and see the last untouched landscape on earth.

Kritzinger grew up playing rugby but has since picked up kayaking, mountain climbing, cycling and music. He is an adrenaline junkie with a love for any outdoor activity, especially with a bunch of friends.

For him, the Northwest Passage represents a chance to make friends for life, while practicing his medical expertise in harsh environments.

Robert Andrew Strachan

Robert Andrew Strachan

Ocean Rower

Robert Andrew Strachan is a 39 year old personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach based in Aberdeen, Scotland. He has worked in the fitness industry for nearly 15 years and is sharing his experience by training the Northwest Passage crew.

He took part in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge in 2015/16, but took the brave decision to get off mid-crossing and seek medical help for a worsening knee wound. 

He has a taste for adventure and the extreme, and holds an ambition to reach the highest and lowest points on earth.

Although he has already reached Everest Base Camp, the plan was put on hold when he heard about the bold Northwest Passage attempt. 

Philip Als

Philip Als

Ocean Rower

In 2003, Philip Als rowed into the history books and the Guinness Book of Records by becoming one of the first Barbadian ocean rowers to successfully cross the Atlantic.

Along with fellow rower Randal Valdez, the Barbadian rowing duo “Team Rowing Home”, undertook the 3,000 nautical mile row across the Atlantic, starting in La Gomera in the Canary Islands.

After 43 days, 14 hours and 17 minutes on the ocean, the team rowed into Port St. Charles, Barbados.

Als was a professional windsurfer before he was an adventurer. It’s been 17 years since his epic feat, and the itch to push himself has returned.

MARK AGNEW

MARK AGNEW

Ocean Rower

Mark Agnew has grown up an out-an-out outdoorsman. His father was an explorer in the 1960s and 70s, mapping Greenland and South America, and would take him mountain climbing or ocean kayaking as young as seven years old.

Agnew has gone on to make outdoor sports a central part of his life. In fact, he is extreme sports editor for the South China Morning Post.

Agnew took part in two Atlantic crossing attempts, in 2016 and 2018, and kept his head cool when storms and unseaworthy boats proved a dangerous mix.

It has always been his ambition to be the first to row the Northwest Passage, joining his childhood heroes by writing his name in history.

 

 

 

Claire Hughes

Claire Hughes

Ocean Rower

A keen traveller and outdoor enthusiast, Claire loves an adventure and a challenge. She thought she had peaked in 2017 after driving 3,500km across India in a tuk-tuk with an inflatable giraffe strapped to the roof.

In 2018/19, Claire rowed the Atlantic as the sole female in a crew of four, with fellow NWP members Phil Kite and Al, breaking a world record in the process.

Now, she shares her experiences hoping that other women will be inspired to step outside their comfort zones and embrace adventure.

Working in construction, Claire is accustomed to working in male-dominated teams and believes a female can bring positive benefits to the dynamic.

 

Expedition Highlights

Advanced expedition class boat technology, 30,000 + nautical miles of experience & achievement.

A real test of Human Endurance & Endeavour whilst recording & documenting the environment and climate.

A battle against Time, Temperature, Weather & Wildlife. A battle to break through the ice in the beginning, once the ice is broken up and gone, the battle is against time to get through before the ice comes back. 

The boat is what we are calling “the LB expedition class hull” made out of carbon Kevlar rather than just carbon, Kevlar is abrasive (they use it in bullet proof vests) the skins of the boat are thicker, for impact resistance and the 2nd is insulation.

We’re utilising methanol fuel cell technology which is very environmentally friendly, the co2 that’s given off by a fuel cell is the equivalent of an infant!

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Location

Starting at Pond Inlet (Nunavut) on Baffin Bay and finishing at Kaktovik (Alaska) on the Arctic Ocean.

Boats

Coined The LB Expedition Class Ocean Rowing Boat, their design has evolved from the pen of Ruairi Grimes, of Aston Martin boat fame, and the experiences of Leven Brown.

World History

No other Ocean Row Expedition has been successful in attempting to complete the full North West Passage in a rowing boat.

Temperature

The temperature should orbit -5C to + 10C during almost constant daylight. The winds are predominately northerly.

Environment

Our aim is to have NO environmental impact & to use the Expedition as a fact-finding mission to uncover the truth of what’s happening in the Arctic.

Human Challenge

This expedition pushes the boundaries of Human Endurance, all the while raising awareness of environmental concerns.

Make History