Andreas Linnert, 40
After sailing for three seasons with the Sea Stallion, Andreas Linnert has a newfound respect for the Vikings and how advanced their boat building skills were, which almost makes one thousand years seem like not that long ago.
“The Sea Stallion sails as good, if not better, than a modern glass fibre boat”
When he’s not sailing Viking boats, as well as being a co-founder of a small independent hostel in Copenhagen, Andreas works as a consultant on EU procurement law.
How did you get involved with the Sea Stallion? “Three years ago I met a friend of a friend who told me how amazing it was. Then when I was made redundant from my job, I decided to take some time off and do all of the things I enjoyed. Coincidentally, this friend called me at this time and invited me to sail with the ship.”
How was your first experience with the ship? “First, we sailed inside Roskilde fjord. The ship appeared awkward and difficult to steer, after sailing modern boats it seemed complicated and a lot of hassle. However, once we sailed out of the fjord and into the open sea at Kattegat, I began to see the ship sailing at its optimal performance. At sunset, we sailed in Hellevaderø towards Sweden. There were big waves and a steady wind which carried us at a speed of 9 knots. I was surprised at how comfortable it was to sail the ship at that speed. It proved to me that the boat was designed for sailing long distances on vast oceans; the Sea Stallion sails as good, if not better, than a modern glass fibre boat. It’s a fast and fun ship.”
For the second year in a row you have been given the role of midship room foreman. What are some of the challenges of that position? “Firstly there needs to be a balance between experienced and inexperienced crew members; it’s important that people gain a good understanding of the ship as a whole. Secondly, it’s the lead volunteer’s responsibility to make the experience fun for everybody. As midship foreman, I need to look after the needs of twenty crew members. It can be difficult to keep everyone happy as people want different things, for example some people might like to get up early, while others might prefer to have a few beers in the evening and stay up late. There will always be complications.”
With three seasons of sailing with the Sea Stallion under your belt, are you more aware of the challenges involved in its organisation? “One of the things I’ve learned is that sixty people cannot be ruled by one person. Sometimes, because of the three room divisions, it can seem like we are sailing three ships and not one. So, communication between the foreship, midship and aft is very important, when that balance is struck it feels like we are sailing in a more united way. A little competition on the boat can be healthy, to a point!
The crew are essentially ambassadors for the ship and the Viking Ship Museum who funded its construction. So it’s very important to maintain a good public image, especially when sailing into harbours when the public greets us.”