The Chinese sailor Guo Chuan was most recently seen sailing his Class 40 around the world in 2013, becoming the first Chinese sailor to solo-circumnavigate the globe. He was also the first Chinese to be featured in the Volvo Ocean Race aboard Green Dragon, the Chinese-Irish entry in 2011-2012.
Earlier in 2015, he took delivery of Francis Joyon's trimaran IDEC, renamed it Qingdao China after his home province, and announced plans to sail the 97-foot yacht through the Northeast Passage of the Arctic Ocean.
The project is the result of two years of research, an international crew from Russia, France, Norway, and the UK, and months of training with Joyon himself. The Northeast Passage starts in Murmansk and ends in Providenya, and can easily be impeded by ice, making it possible that one would have to spend two years locked in the Bering Strait. It's the shortest water route between ports in Russia and East Asia, saving 5000 miles. It's heavily guarded by the Russians, though, and attempts to transit it generally necessitate having Russian crew onboard. Qingdao China arrived in Kirkenes, Norway on the night of August 23rd and expects to arrive in Murmansk on the 30th.
Guo himself is a 59-year old aeronautical engineer who started sailing back in 2000 with the Royal Hong Kong YC. In 2008 he was chosen as the media member onboard Green Dragon, and in 2012 set the record as the first Chinese person to sail solo around the world in a Class 40. He has a wife and two kids.
Big Ape Media is covering the adventure with a series of awesome films.