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expedition leader Leven brown

Expedition Leader – Leven Brown - 2023 & 2024 Team

The expedition team is international and diverse, and led by world ocean rowing record holder Leven Brown, of Scotland, UK.

Leven 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.

The 2024 Team

Art 'Karts' Huseonica

Art “Karts” Huseonica, 73, is retired from work, but not from living. He holds several extreme water and land adventure records and hopes to add the Northwest Passage to his resume after he completes a record-attempt on the mighty Yukon River just prior to joining the Northwest Passage crew.

Although he’s new to ocean rowing, Karts isn’t afraid to stick his nose it and Embrace the Suck. He brings to the team his Wilderness First Aid gear and expertise, risk management skills honed over the decades, and a never-give-up attitude.

He’s retired from the U.S. military, retired university academic director, and retired warehouse manager. Between working and adventuring, he earned three advanced degrees. 

Karts, who lives in the Sonoran Desert, is married to Karen Carlsen and they have one son and three grandchildren. He frequently volunteers for various local organizations and is on search and rescue teams.

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Mike Harding

Mike Harding has been the last ten years running a sheep and cattle farm in East Sussex, but he has seen much of the world. At the age of 18 he embarked on a 3500 mile solo journey across West Africa, and this had a lasting impresion on him, spurring him to further travel and adventure. After studying Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies Mike spent 7 years in the Royal Marines, spending time at sea and on land, in deserts, jungles, mountains, and completing the arduous arctic warfare and survival course in Norway.

Mike has a keen interest in the NW Passage as he is a descendant of Sir John Franklin, who disapeared with the ships and crew of HMS Erebus and Terror while searching for a route through the passage in 1846-7. He is very much hoping to complete the passage as a tribute to the brace pioneers of polar exploration.

Stefan Hacker

 

Stefan is 49 years old and 200cm/6’7’’ tall. His height has been a mixed blessing, if that. “It basically means that most door frames do not agree with me. Luckily, Leven tells me that there is plenty of space on our boat, which is great.”

Having grown up in a small town near the Bavarian Alps, he completed his one-year obligatory military service with the German mountain troops. Following his studies of international relations, he briefly worked for an NGO in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, a trade association in Bangkok, and as a fork-lift truck driver in Barcelona.

Shortly after he relocated to London twenty years ago, he met his future wife. Today, they are running a small regulatory consultancy firm in London, focused on investment banking clients. In their spare time they are blogging about London, outdoor adventures, and travel. Past collaborations have included trips to Everest Base Camp, Kilimanjaro, and Bhutan.

For several years, Stefan was involved (including as trustee & chairman) in a charity whose aim it is to keep kids in some of London’s most deprived areas out of violent street gangs through mentoring and free physical fitness training. When time permits, he enjoys doing five-minute open-mic stand-up comedy gigs on the London circuit.

While watersports such as long-distance open-water swimming and paddleboarding have been regular past-times for a long time, he is also a keen caver, climber, and ultra-runner.

Felix Petit

Felix is a sporting journalist and keen adventurer in his spare time. He grew up in rural Galloway in Southwest Scotland before studying Archaeology at Durham University. He spent some time working as a headhunter in London and New York before joining the army and attending Sandhurst Military Academy.  He then spent five years as a an officer in the Household Cavalry.
 
In the army he initially trained as a tank commander and was deployed to Ukraine to train the Ukrainian army in basic soldiering. Later he conducted horse mounted ceremonial duties in London, including riding on parades for the Platinum Jubilee and The Queens funeral. 
 
Felix has spent lots of time in a boat, canoeing around the northern ends of Scandinavia and last year after he left the army he spent 2 months kayaking 2000km down the River Danube in winter. He has represented Scotland for waterskiing and for work he now travels around the UK writing features on fieldsports and rural issues. 
 
He is a big fan of sea shanties and knows all the words to Stan Rogers ‘Northwest Passage’ occasionally doing small performances in local venues. He currently lives with his red setter, collie and girlfriend Romney on their farm in East Sussex. 

The 2023 Team

Philip Als

In 2003 Philip joined with Randal Valdez to create the Barbadian rowing duo “Team Rowing Home”, and they set off on their historic journey in the Woodvale Atlantic Rowing Challenge. As a result they rowed into the history books and the Guinness Book of Records by becoming the first Barbadian ocean rowers to successfully cross the Atlantic.

From 1984, Philip represented Barbados internationally in windsurfing, before becoming professional in the sport in Europe, the USA and the Caribbean. He also coached the Barbados Windsurfing team for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Upon his return, he and his Barbadian teammates became the IPSC Caribbean Pistol champions, earning him a gold medal.

The 3,000 nautical mile row started in La Gomera in the Canary Islands. Leading the race at one point, they battled the elements of the sun, galeforce winds, high seas and sharks. After 43 days, 14 hours and 17 minutes on the ocean, the team rowed into Port St. Charles, Barbados on 01 December 2003 to a rapturous reception from proud Barbadians who had followed their epic journey.

Being the only Caribbean islander on the team will mean making a much greater adjustment to the subzero temperatures of the environment. It means training in Scotland in advance to practice rowing in very cold and turbulent water, and learning new survival skills fit for an extreme and dangerous environment.

Philip will take on the greatest challenge of his sporting career; to join the first Expedition in history to row a passage through the Arctic archipelago.

“We are extremely proud of Philip as one of our Island’s Ambassadors, joining this incredible rowing expedition. We are encouraging all Barbadians at home and abroad to get behind Philip and support him in this great endeavour”.

Barbados Minister for Culture, John King

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Davie Flett

Davie is a 56 year old Orcadian who is deeply proud of his Orcadian heritage, especially the links the island has to the Northwest Passage and Dr John Rae who is credited with discovering the last navigable link of the North West passage and also discovered the fate of Sir Joh. Franklin and his crew.

Davie is married with 2 sons and a grand daughter, 

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

He has since founded the Orkney Rowing Club and organised a row around Orkney for the members, which saw 42 Orcadians getting the chance to row in more open water, through the hours of darkness and some very strong tidal streams.

Davie’s exploits were featured in 2016 on the BBC programme “Britains Ancient Capitals” in which they were trying to prove that it was possible to travel this way thousands of years earlier. The boat that was used was constructed from Willow tree branches and cowhide. They succeeded, making a crossing of the Pentland Firth in just under five hours. 

In 2021 Davie was part of a crew that rowed from Newcastle to Kirkwall in 5 days, his first multi day day row on an ocean rowing boat. 

Now, Flett is taking on another adventure in his quest to row the Northwest Passage in 2023

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Daniel Kritzinger

Daniel is a general practitioner from South Africa with interests in emergency medicine, family practice and expedition medicine. He stumbled upon the North West Passage Expedition ad looking for rowers and had to apply.

The past 20 plus years of his free time was consumed by rugby. Other hobbies include kayaking, mountain climbing, cycling, paragliding and music. He is an adrenaline junkie with a love for any outdoor activity, especially with a bunch of friends.

He is a jack of all trades and master of some. Ocean rowing is not one of the things he has mastered yet, but hopes to learn from all the experience on the team.

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Mike Harding

Mike Harding has been the last ten years running a sheep and cattle farm in East Sussex, but he has seen much of the world. At the age of 18 he embarked on a 3500 mile solo journey across West Africa, and this had a lasting impresion on him, spurring him to further travel and adventure. After studying Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies Mike spent 7 years in the Royal Marines, spending time at sea and on land, in deserts, jungles, mountains, and completing the arduous arctic warfare and survival course in Norway.

Mike has a keen interest in the NW Passage as he is a descendant of Sir John Franklin, who disapeared with the ships and crew of HMS Erebus and Terror while searching for a route through the passage in 1846-7. He is very much hoping to complete the passage as a tribute to the brace pioneers of polar exploration.

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Robert Strachan

Robert Strachan is a 42-year-old Student of psychology at the open university and has previously completed a BSc Hons Sports and Exercise Science, Diploma of higher education in Health Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Management Studies. He has run his own company Strachan Health Fitness Nutrition for over 12 Years and is now looking to continue to work in the Mental health sector. His personal aims for this expedition is to be part of the first crew to achieve this never been done before feat and bring to the forefront mental health, learning disabilities and neurodiversity through the support of the Adhd Foundation as one of their ambassadors.

He has previously attempted to row the Atlantic in a pair in the 2015/2016 Talisker Atlantic challenge. However due to injury and infection he was rescued after 44 days. So, when he was invited by Leven Brown to join the expedition he jumped at the chance and signed up right away. He is also keen to make an exchange of cultures as he is from Sunny Scotland and sees this as an opportunity to gain experience about other societies and similarities and differences between them. He is also looking to do further research into the effects of confined spaces and group/team dynamics in stressful situations, the effects of sleep depravation on crew members and will be keeping a diary of any specific events which may happen. (Last time he experienced hallucinations)

He has been involved in various aspects and sports from multi day ultra-endurance events to Olympic lifting and enjoys exploring how far he can push himself in all aspects of life. He has previously held world records and enjoyed finding endurance events and courses wherever he goes (even a marathon on his honeymoon) With better than 20/20 vision and being constantly alert with his adhd Robert will make an excellent look out (for polar bears and other predators) He also plans to bring to life local wildlife through his photographs and following exhibition back home to Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Tuppence Mellish

I am a 25 year old Scot currently working as a mixed animal vet in South-western Ontario. Working as a vet in a rural area is job that requires you to always be prepared to expect the unexpected, something I hope will be a useful life skill during the NWP expedition.

I grew up in various parts of rural Scotland and I have always loved the outdoors and adventure. My interest in Arctic climates started when I spent 3 weeks in Northern Norway with the British Exploring Society when I was 16.

I have never taken on anything of this scale before but the minute I heard about the NWP expedition I just had to email Leven and find out more about this unique adventure.

Being a part of the NWP is an opportunity to test both my mental and physical endurance, as well as being a unique chance to experience one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the world whilst also making lasting friendships and connections with my teammates.

Livar Nysted

Livar Nysted is a 52 year old artist/seaman from the Faroe Islands. He has been on 8 oceanrowing expeditions and he also has been the leader on a few of these expeditions.

Livar is also a multiple Guinness World Record holder. One of those records, is for being the first person to row across two oceans within the same year.

Livar is married with 4 daughters and a granddaughter. Livar has always been facinated by the old explorers, like Shackleton, Amundsen ect., so to be part of this amazing expedition, and to get a small taste of what the old timers went through is a dream come true.