This month's 'Seafarer story' is a little out of the ordinary. Though we are in the year 2017 heads are still turned when a solely female-crewed ship cast away for five days at sea. Captain of the ship, Lise Mortensen, Fagbladsredaktør, Journalist, Søfartens Ledereput together her crew consisting of eight women who, with great spirit and enthusiasm, boarded the ship Palnatoke and participated in the sailing competition: 'Fyn Rundt' - a competition for old sailing ships who are worth preserving.
"There have been many reactions to the crew of the ship and most of them were positive, though the best reaction was my girlfriend's husband who, in full earnestness asked if that was even legal?" says Lise Mortensen.
The competition takes place every year and is one of Denmark biggest summer events. 30 - 40 well-kept sailing ships are racing each other. They cast off in Nyborg with Svendborg as their destination and a new town is a daily milestone. Palnatoke is a beautiful old sailing ship which can carry up to 20 passengers and can be charted through 'Maritime Center Charting.
The crew of Palnatoke dived into the challenge with great enthusiasm - 'cause why shouldn't they be able to do the same as their male colleagues? Four of them has a maritime education and the rest has sailed the seas for years. And they did indeed rise to the challenge as they arrived second in their group on the second day of the competition - gaining their new name: "The Turbo-chicks".
The following days the competition continues and the harbors are filled with a big crowd ready to greet the competitors. And another thing about this story is that Palnatoke has been equipped with a bow propeller. Not a common equipment for an old wooden ship - almost a bit embarrassing in this crowd. But good at making a pirouette. So Captain Lise called the shore and agreed that they must announce that the 'Women's Ship' is making a pirouette when they got into the harbor. And as promised, they made a full turn right in front of the crowd, and the crew did similarly pirouettes on the deck.
"I don't believe that has ever been done in this competition," says Captain Lise
The nights in the harbors are always fun. With such a remarkable crew some gender-teasing can't be avoided. One night, one of the male participants went to Palnatoke as he had made a bet with his friends: Try to make the women peel a bucket of potatoes without being thrown over board. With great laughs, the women threw themselves over the potatoes and the man walked back to his ship surprised at having won the bet.
The competition ended in Svendborg with an award to the winning ship, some good food, and party till the next morning. There was no award to Palnatoke but the women fought till the end and got the ship through - legally. The training continues and they are ready for a re-match next year!