Flemming Bornholt Hansson, 50
He is from one of the most beautiful places in Denmark , a small island in the north called Bornholm and always has a big smile for me. Flemming is a true “Bornholmer”; he speaks with a distinctive accent and always with great passion about his home. Despite his attachment to the place, he’s managed to tear himself away each summer for the last two years to sail with the Sea Stallion. He can usually be found in the foreship, where the swell of the waves can be quite unforgiving for those who suffer from sea sickness, however this is also where some of the best views can be enjoyed.
Origin and Etymology of foreship:
Middle English forship, foreship, from Old English forscip, from for-, fore- fore- + scip ship —In danish, we call it the foreskib. See any similarity? There are many cross overs between english and scandinavian languages for nautial terms. Even in Gaelic, there are some terms asociated with ship building that come from the old norse (Viking) words. The connection between the “North Men” and the societies that were highly impressed by their impecably designed sailing vessels is undeniable.
Flemming is a man of many talents, he enjoys crafting things with his hands, from turning buttons made of horn, to customising motor cycle engines. He describes himself as “an entrepreneur” or “inventor”. However, I see him as an artist, in the true meaning of the word.
How did you first hear about the Sea Stallion? I was in Roskilde visiting relatives, we went to the Viking Ship Museum and that’s where I first saw the ship. When I went home to Bornholm I began researching the boat on the internet to see how I could get involved and possibly sail with it. I then applied to the guild and was accepted. Previous to my first sail with the boat I had no sailing experience, I love to drive fast cars and motorbikes, this seemed like the kind of sea faring vessel that would suit me! I especially enjoy sailing in choppy seas with strong winds.
Did you already have an interest in the Vikings? Yes, I have always had an interest in Viking culture, however now I can appreciate much more all the effort that went into ship building, selecting trees, cutting them down; designing and working together to build these magnificent vessels took a lot of skill and organisation. Imagine what it looked like when hundreds of these ships were sailing together, imagine how many hours were involved in their production. It just shows how evolved their society was.
Which experiences from this year’s voyage have stood out for you? The night sailing was very special, there is something very unique about sleeping below the stars in an open ship with so many others. When we silently sailed under the Størbæltbruen and the full moon it was pretty specular. The open air concert at Rønæs was also an evening to remember, there was a wonderful atmosphere amongst the crew and then this stunning sunset, I was nearly brought to tears!
What are the challenges for you? The sailing get’s easier the more time you spend on the boat, I just want to keep learning, there is so much to learn about the winds alone.