In the summer of 2011, keen for some Global Row expedition training, Olly joined a team of 4 to undertake kayaking the North Sea, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. The challenge was keen to replicate the same route taken by the Engelandvaarders 70 years earlier. The route they followed saw them depart from several miles north of The Hague, landing on the beach at Sizewell in Suffolk.
The route, as the crow flies, is approximately 118 miles across open water, and with the natural current and prevailing winds against the direction of travel, this made for a physically demanding journey. The direct route required the crossing of the four main shipping lanes of The North Sea, involving traffic from Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Harwich. Kayaking in individual boats, the crossing was non-stop, supported with a fishing vessel containing a support crew of an expedition manager, doctor and 24-7 on board cook! Olly was the only one of the 4 man Suffolk team to complete the crossing, arriving on Sizewell beach 43 hours after departing from Katwijk.
Olly arrived on the beach with the two Dutch marines who had asked to join the UK team for the grueling journey. Victoria managed this North Sea crossing for Olly, working with the support vessel, skipper and doctor to ensure that Olly and his team had the best support possible to aid them with their crossing, and coordinated all elements of the mini expedition.
The challenge included shipping all kayaks and safety equipment, food and support crew to Holland, arranging UK and Dutch media on departure from and arrival in each location, cooking non-stop on board the vessel throughout the 60 hour challenge to keep the team refueled whilst managing all stakeholders, and managing the sponsor requirements of the kind supporters who made the challenge happen in both Holland and the UK.
This was of course just a snippet of what Olly will endure at sea on his Global rowing expedition – the last frontier in ocean rowing.
Vicks’ passion for expeditions and adventures is evident in the lengths she will go to to make them happen, both for herself and others