This is a story of a great adventurous challenge. It is a story of survival and success against the odds. It is a story to excite us. As President of the United World Colleges, it is my great pleasure to introduce the story because Christian Havrehed is a graduate of the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales.
The United World Colleges is a global educational movement, which brings together students from diverse socio‑economic and cultural backgrounds in an environment designed to foster international understanding, peace and tolerance. In the ‘Yantu Project’, Christian was able to combine these values, his love of the Ocean and of adventure and his interest in China. He also decided to use the project to raise the profile of the UWC movement and to raise funds to enable Chinese students to study at Atlantic College.
The Yantu Project was an audacious undertaking in which Christian entered the Atlantic Rowing Challenge with his rowing partner Sun Haibin in order to become the first Dane and the first Mainland Chinese to row across the Atlantic. Christian’s story is a compelling account of the challenges faced by two strangers from very different parts of the world. It charts the development of a dream, the challenges of having a boat built in China, the detailed preparation needed, the demanding training schedule and the many obstacles they had to overcome.
The book paints a graphic picture of a journey of 56 days and 2,745 nautical miles during which Christian and Sun Haibin suffered severe discomfort, solitude and personal risk. At the same time it illustrates the determination needed to make the dream become reality and gives an insight into the unique friendship and understanding which developed across cultural boundaries.
The promotion of international understanding is the very foundation on which the United World Colleges movement is built and this book sends us a powerful message — that it is possible to achieve the seemingly impossible so long as there is trust in one another and a shared vision.
In a world where we are surrounded by tension and misunderstanding, this message should encourage us all.