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Newcastle University Boat Club Successfully Race the Ferry

Newcastle University Boat Club Successfully Race the Ferry
25 September 2018 James Brooke

Newcastle University Boat Club members were once again successful in racing DFDS’ King Seaways ferry to Amsterdam this weekend. Using rowing machines set up on board the challenge was completed in just fifteen hours and two minutes.

The highly-anticipated event, which last took place five years ago, saw a team of eighteen rowers attempting to row the 495 kilometres from Newcastle to Amsterdam in less than the mini cruise ferry’s average crossing time of fifteen and a half hours. With DFDS’ King Seaways sailing at an average speed of 17 knots / 31km per hour, this was no easy feat!

The university team set themselves the challenge in a bid to raise funds to help the club maintain and expand its boat fleet, with over £2,000 worth of donations received.

Boarding DFDS’ King Seaways ship on Friday night, the race began as the ferry left North Shields, with the endurance test going through the night. Two rowing machines were placed on deck, with the team taking it in turns, rowing approximately 31km each.

Katherine Bulmer, Newcastle University Boat Club President said ”I’m very proud of my team; we had to dig really deep throughout the challenge to keep the ship at bay, especially when the weather conditions turned against us, and rowing continuously for 15 hours is no mean feat! But everyone pulled together and thankfully we were able to continue NUBC’s winning record.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to DFDS for helping us organize the challenge and the generosity of the other passengers far exceeded our expectations. The money raised will greatly help us throughout the season and enable us to continue our successes on and off the water.’

DFDS Captain Andreas Kristensen also commented “It was great fun to participate in an event like this. All crew and passengers were following the race very closely, you could feel the tension all around the ship. The race became even more exciting in the morning with just a few hours until arrival in Amsterdam, as the rowers were only a few nautical miles behind the vessel.

“Unfortunately” for King Seaways, the team still had power for a final sprint. So while we were turning the vessel around, reversing down to the quayside in Ijmuiden, they made it to the finish line and beat us with a few hundred metres to spare. Congratulations to Newcastle University Boat Club for a well-deserved win.”

Made up of a mixture of men and women all currently studying at Newcastle University for qualifications ranging from medicine, psychology and civil engineering, each team member that participated in the challenge has an impressive history of competing at prominent regattas, with some having rowed at national championship level.

As the ship sailed into Amsterdam, the rowers celebrated reaching the continent and took a well-earned rest. In total over 45,000 strokes had been made and a whopping 35,000 calories had been burnt.

DFDS operates daily sailings between Newcastle-Amsterdam from £72 per person each way for a car and two people, including an en suite cabin. For more information or to book a sailing visit

For more information about the Newcastle University Boat Club or to donate to the cause visit:


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Elsa Findlay/Charlotte Wright/Rachel Sewell/Katie Raby
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About DFDS
DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of around 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships.

DFDS prides itself on offering world-class facilities and services and the widest choice of ferry routes into northern Europe. In the UK, the company operates passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe.

DFDS has been named the ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for the last 7 years (2011-2017) as well as ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ (2012-18).

DFDS currently operates up to 54 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes. DFDS also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam. In addition, the DFDS network includes a passenger and freight service between Newhaven to Dieppe, which has four daily sailings and is operated by Transmanche Ferries.

For further information about DFDS, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, visit

About Newcastle University Boat Club
Newcastle University Boat Club’s High-Performance Programme is recognised and supported by the GB Rowing Team and funded through the National Lottery. NUBC has a track record of coaching rowers to challenge for a place in the GB Rowing National Squads and is committed to Rowing’s World Class Performance Strategy.