Ove Joensen

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Ove Joensen's boat "Diana Victoria" in its boathouse in Nólsoy (May 2008).
Memorial in Nólsoy in memory of Ove Joensen

Ove Joensen (3 December 1948 – 26 November 1987[note 1]) was a Faroese seaman and adventurer, the first to row from the Faroe Islands to Denmark.

Early life[edit]

Ove Joensen, born in 1948 in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, was the son of a fisherman and after moving to the Island of Nólsoy had a seafarering career.

Ocean crossing[edit]

In 1984, inspired by Colin Quincey, the first man to row across the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia, he built his 30-foot boat Diana Victoria at Nólsoy, to row the 900 nautical miles (1,700 km) from the Faroes to Copenhagen in Denmark. On his first attempt later that year the boat was damaged when visiting a ship. Diverting to the Shetland Islands, he was towed in from Eshaness by the Aith lifeboat. The following year Joensen's attempt was defeated by adverse winds after he had again reached Aith.[1]

Joensen finally succeeded in 1986, when he arrived in Copenhagen on 11 August 1986 after 41 days rowing alone. Thousands of people greeted him, both in the Danish capital and on his return to Nólsoy.[1] The Danes called him Ro-Ove (Row-Ove).


On the night of 24 November 1987, returning from Runavik, Joensen drowned in Skálafjørður-inlet after falling overboard, though his body was not found until two days later.[1]

The civic festival Ovastevna is held each August on Nólsoy to commemorate Ove Joensen. His boat Diana Victoria is preserved in Nólsoy in the basement of the café and Tourist Information Centre, near the ferry port.[1][2] There is also a monument to him next to the whale bones that form an ornamental entrance to the village, and another in the village of Aith, Shetland Isles. Joensen is buried in the cemetery of Nólsoy, overlooking the sea.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Joenson had 3 children, Christina, Sharlotte Rose, and Bo.


  • Kirstin Didriksen, Ragnhild Joensen: Ove, Egið forlag, 1989 ISBN 87-982956-3-2


  1. ^ a b c d e Owen Amos (26 July 2015). "One rower, two cats, 900 miles". BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  2. ^ VisitNolsoy.fo, Diana Victoria – Ove´s Boat Archived 26 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine

“The Rooftops of Copenhagen” - song by Tom Russell


  1. ^ The date of the recovery of his body, and as shown on his grave marker