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Departing with the smiling Queen of Denmark

Published 09th Jul 2012

The coloured sail stands beautifully in the evening sun, the dinner is just finished and soon we will pass Sjællands Odde. We are on our way into the Kattegat and right now it looks like we will sail through the night.

At 10.00 this morning the air was thick of the kind of excitement that follows a great adventure. Big smiles, goodbye hugs and expectations filled the bridge where the Sea Stallion lay. With no wind on Roskilde Fjord the rye-bread motor had to get in gear; the Queen of Denmark sat on the galley smiling at the 55 men and women rowing.  Now all the guests are off board and the bad humour is back –especially in midships.
The Sea Stallion is divided into four rooms or sections; The løfting or command central with the skipper, mates and helmsmen, and three big crew rooms with 16 crewmembers each –an aft-, mid- and fore ship. Each room has its own culture. The aft is the sun deck; they are behind the sail out of the shade, they have plenty of space, the extra rudder as a dinner table and cosy folksinging led by the foremen, Tajs and Ove.
With most of the 2 kilometre rope concentrated around the mast, piles of oars and ballast stone underneath the deck, it’s tight quarters in the midship. But there is plenty of bad humour along with contagious laughs. 
The foreship faces the weather head-on first; swells come in over the side in hard winds up there and the crew has to move further down. But with enough to eat and a big ration of chocolate they are tough….
The Danish Meteorologically Institute would have trouble giving a consistent weather report on the Sea Stallion. In the 30 metre longship the foreship can be wearing rain gear, while the midship is in woollen clothes and the aft is applying sun screen –all at the same time!
But for now all is quiet. The crew is preparing for the night and the watches every 4 hours. They are putting on their woollen underwear and rain gear and the oars are being laid out as a bed in midships.
We’ll see where we call to harbour.