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Sailing with Statsraad Lehmkuhl

I few weeks ago I went sailing with the bark Statsraad Lehmkuhl to Shetland Folk Festival and back. Seven days filled with hard work, song, brilliant food, good company, and folk concerts. You’re there as a trainee!

(Photo by Anne Gjoelme, on our way towards Kreisundet with Sunnmørsalpene in the background.)

I wanted to participate in as much as I could, and my first trip out on the tip hadling sails was actually in dead of night under starry skies, an experience I wouldn’t have missed for the world.

The view when waking up around 1o:00 from my hammock after doing the night shift from 00:00 until 04:00. Looks peaceful, but be warned, you have to switch off your normal sleeping routines and habits. There was excessive snoring, slamming of doors from the different teams, and people bumping into your hammoch when getting their stuff from their cabinets. I probably annoyed someone too in some way, so we were quite literally all in the same boat. Things worked out nicely as long as you had enough self insight to realize you are probably making noise too. I settled in quite well in my hammock after a while, and a good set of earplugs worked their magic. Our team usually woke up about 10.00/11.00-ish for lunch to go our next shift that was from 12:00 until 16:00.

After dinner (which was brilliant each day) we had the evening off, but we still participated in the different activities to learn as much as we could while on board. I missed out on learning more knots which I had looked forward too, but I guess I could have asked someone to teach me outside the scheduled programme too, but never did. Too much other fun stuff to participate in, and fun people to socialize with. We went to bed for a few hours sleep before we got up at 23:30 for another night shift. The rotas are Blue Team from 08:00 until 12:00/20:00 until 00:00, Red team from 12:00-20:00/00:00-04:00, and White Team from 04:00-08:00/20:00-00:00. I think maybe the blue team came off best in terms of sleep, and white the worst, since they had to sleep in the daytime when it was more difficult for others to remember to be quiet.

I enjoyed the rota we went, spent a good few hours with the midnight sky and got to see the day growing in the distance. A bit worse off for sleep since I woke up when the other teams had breakfast at 07:30, but it all worked out somehow. It was worth it; just have a look at the morning sky at 03:45 28th of April.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather by the way. The first night was a little bumpy, with most of the trainees being seasick all over the place, including me. Freezing cold and icy rain and layer upon layer of wool, but still it was better to go your rota than just standing around being seasick, which I tried too. Until I was told to go to bed since I had been sick for four hours continously. The crew members on our shift were really attentive and tried to help us out with some advice, and the non-seasick trainees too, but it was nice just to know they cared. Befriended in the end some crumbs of dark rye bread and loads of water and pretended this was the high life. I’m glad we got the shitty weather and seasickness in the beginning, because then I appreciated the beautiful weather we got after that even more. And the not being sick part.

Night time lecture:)

Many of my pictures are us hanging around the deck enjoying ourselves, mostly because that’s when we had time to take pictures. On watch it’s not allowed to be preoccupied with phones, and when you’re working handling sails and ropes… Well, says itself really.

A part of the job was to keep the deck free from all coils of rope. The fibres in the rope and the spinning makes them coil up naturally, and it was quite fun to learn the little details of the trade. The rope hanging loose with an 8-knot is to prevent it from not flying off into mast oblivion when it’s not fastened yet.

Some of the very few photos of us working^^

I wish I had photographed the banjer and the food we were served, but everyone was so hungry when it came to dinner that photos were the least of my concerns. Because the chefs deserve some serious credit!

Look at this! The sea and skies kept changing, I was mesmerized the whole trip. A little video of this view on my instagram.

There were some high seas when it was sunny too, not too bad, but enough to get some sudden showers on deck. I only had my sketchbook out twice during the whole trip, but managed to catch the feeling of being soaked on deck while completely sunny;)

Not sure why I drew a little mouse, but I think it has something to to with my fascination for making small worlds bigger. Textures are more alive, and normal objects suddenly becoming housing and seats that we would be too big to fit. Like how I felt, imagining traveling on a ship inside a bottle.

I can’t emphasize enough how fun this was. If you’re considering embarking on a trip on a sailing ship; do it. Getting to know yourself, others, and have some amazing views and experiences while you’re at it.

Day lectures too;)

And of course the goal of the trip; Shetland Folk Festival! Almost forgot to come back to that little detail.

We got to see some beautiful concerts. Both on and off the ship. Fiddlers Bid, The Revellers, and Steven Robertson.

The ship left Leirwick Sunday morning heading for Bergen again. So happy I decided to be a part of this!