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Captain Sune Blinkenberg. Photo: André Marton Pedersen

A new captain on board

27 days ago
Written by André Marton Pedersen, Ronald Toppe
Life on board > A new captain on board

A new captain on board

27 days agoLife on board
Written by André Marton Pedersen, Ronald Toppe
Captain Sune Blinkenberg. Photo: André Marton Pedersen

When captain Jens Joachim Hiorth contracted corona, Sune Blinkenberg had to take over at short notice. - Lucky for me, he smiles.

The two permanent captains of Statsraad Lehmkuhl take turns being in command. In Palau, Marcus Seidl stepped down, and Jens Joachim Hiorth was to take over. But Hiorth had to stay at home.

- Unfortunately, he got corona, the joker that has riddled us so much lately, so he was not allowed to leave Norway. But we know each other in this trade, so they called and asked if I could step in. And lucky for me, I could, says Sune Blinkenberg, who will be captain on the leg north towards Yokohama. Statsraad Lehmkuhl's first visit to Japan.

Captain Sune Blinkenberg meeting the crew. Photo: André Marton Pedersen
Captain Sune Blinkenberg meeting the crew. Photo: André Marton Pedersen

Coxswain

The smiling Dane has been sailing with Norwegian sailing ships since 2005, and was coxswain on Statsraad Lehmkuhl in 2008 and 2009. He was on board when the ship won the "Boston Teapot" for the first time, the trophy that goes to the sailing ship that covers the longest distance in five days and four hours.

- Being allowed to come back and sail as part of the team, and notice how she just thunders away almost like a train when she gets a little wind, is absolutely fantastic, smiles Blinkenberg.

Blinkenberg has education both in management and administration, and as a navigator and captain. For ten years he was captain of the full-rigger Sørlandet and also responsible for operation and management of the ship. In recent years, he has been head of the Danish trade union Lederne Søfart, a job he held until April. This spring he took sailing enthusiasts across the Atlantic in the classic schooner S/Y Mistral. And now he is at sea again.

Crossing the Atlantic in S/Y Mistral. Photo: Sune Blinkenberg
Crossing the Atlantic in S/Y Mistral. Photo: Sune Blinkenberg


Why did you accept when you got the call from the Statsraad Lehmkuhl?

- Partly because I love sailing these ships, but I've also followed One Ocean Expedition since it started, and think it's cool. Sailing is fantastic in itself, but doing it with a purpose, sailing with meaning, that is the icing on the cake. So I think it's fantastic to have the opportunity to be a part of it, he replies.

- All of us sailors see that things have changed in the time we've been out to sea. There is much more plastic in the ocean, we no longer catch fish where we used to catch fish. And when we visit the islands down here in the Pacific Ocean, and also in the Atlantic, people there also tell us that the conditions are changing. I find it worrisome that we have used the Earth as a garbage dump for so many years. That research is now being done focusing on this, and documenting what we see, I think is important, correct and relevant, he continues.

Typhoon

The voyage north to Yokohama takes 16 days, if all goes well. A tropical cyclone, a typhoon, is lurking southeast of Japan.

- But we are coming from the right direction, so we can get behind it. But it will be an exciting voyage, Blinkenberg says.

There is little wind in the forecast for the next few days, it wasn't until last Sunday morning Statsraad Lehmkuhl could set all sails and switch off the engine.

Finally sailing again. Photo: André Marton Pedersen
Finally sailing again. Photo: André Marton Pedersen

Adventurous

- I'm an adventurous captain, and love to play, so we have to make something fun out of this too. If there's an opportunity for it, we'll take a swim stop, and we'll also launch three research buoys and collect water samples three or four times along the way, says Blinkenberg.

After the typhoon has passed, more wind is expected. Blinkenberg is looking forward to that.

- I like it when I first make a plan for the sailing together with the crew, and we see that the plan succeeds. The moment we sail the way we intended, roaring off with full sails and white foam at the bow, and both the permanent crew and the leg-crew walk around with smiles on their faces because everything is just amazing. Then I think it's really fun.

Captain Sune Blinkenberg. Photo: André Marton Pedersen
Captain Sune Blinkenberg. Photo: André Marton Pedersen
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The One Ocean Expedition is a circumnavigation by the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl. We aim to to share knowledge about the crucial role of the ocean for a sustainable development in a global perspective.

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