Mini portrait: From land to sea

Why is a young woman on board a Viking ship oozing of men and hard physical challenges? When asked, the 23 year old Puk answers: She loves it there!

Puk Faxe Sabinsky
Puk Faxe Sabinsky

”Oh my good……. Have you seen how many young girls they have on board?”

A middle-aged woman is astounded by what she sees on the Sea Stallion. Together with her husband she is standing at the harbour bridge in Thyborøn early in the morning watching most of the crew members sleeping after 24 hours of sailing on the North see and Skagerrak.

Rope, human bodies and sleeping bags are tangled up together – a chaos that makes the ship look like at big gipsy camp site. Without saying anything, the woman’s facial expression clearly shows that in her opinion this is not a soothing place for at young woman. 

One of those young women on board was Puk.

“I must admit, it’s quite fun to shock people. Most of them do not think that women can sail a Viking Ship”, says Puk Faxe Sabinsky, who is a biology student, when she is not a crew member in the for ship of the Sea Stallion.

An apprentice on a Danish school ship.

Today Puk is a crew member on the biggest reconstruction of a Viking ship, but in 2004 she was sailing with the training ship Danmark to Frederikshavn – Lisbon – Athens – Algeciras – Brixham and back to Frederikshavn again.

That was the same year as the Seasstallion was launched.

“Most of my life I have lived in Roskilde and have read about the project of building the reconstruction in local news papers. My mom who is sailing another reconstruction named Helge Ask ( the Reconstruction of Skuldelev 5) also told me about it. When I came home from sailing with the training ship, my interests had grown. One year later my friend Laura and I became members of the crew on the Sea Stallion – and from that, there was no turning back – we wanted more”, says Puk.

“I love sailing and want to evolve all the time. The great thing about the Sea Stallion is that we are allowed to test a new ship and test history at the same time. We have already had some great experiences and I’m also getting a chance to test my own personal boundaries – physically and mentally. Sailing the Sea Stallion is a nice and calm change from the busy life as a student though.”

Vikings sneaking into the archipelago.

”One of the highlights from this year’s journey to Norway was sailing into Bassholmen in Sweden. At the middle of the night we quietly sailed trough the Swedish archipelago. Even though we had little wind, it all went well. Everybody on board was quit, but you could still sense a special atmosphere – sort of like we were attacking. Here come the Vikings!”

What is the worst thing about sailing the Sea Stallion?

”People that with their personality takes up to much space. A person that demands more than he gives back. Like people that think they know it all, be when push comes to shoves, they don’t. One thing that really annoys me is people nagging about irrelevant things – and those who doesn’t want to lend a hand, but expect to be given one themselves. But I haven’t felt like it wasn’t worth it anymore – not even when I became sea sic, because I knew it would pass a few days later.”

Puk is looking forward to some stronger winds on the sailing to Dublin, so that she and the ship can get a little more challenged.

What I fear the most is probably the same as most sailors. Falling over board during a storm, heavy wind or high waves. That a fire breaks out on board, that we capsize – any major accidents really.”

Support from back home.

Puk can without any worries participate in the next big adventure. Her boyfriend back home is very supporting of her:

”He really thinks it’s great that I’m dedicated to sail with the Sea Stallion. Of course it’s tuff to be away and we miss each other – but that why it’s great that he will support me anyways. And then I’m happy that I invited friend of mine in board, when the Vikingship Museum recently had arranged a trip on the Fjord for our family – because now they understand what I’m spending all this time doing. One of my girlfriend even liked the Vikingships so much, that she is now joining up for sailing with Ottar (reconstruction of Skuldelev 1 red.), Puk says.”

What are you most proud of on the Sea Stallion?

”It all – it is a beautiful ship and a cool project.”

By: Henrik Kastoft

01/02 - 2007