Not Even The Pirates Could Take The Lust For Sailing

I heard from Pertti and Pirkko Pulkkinen’s rough experience in the Finnish Open Ocean Sailors seminar last fall. Pertti and Pirkko were sailing back home from their around the world voyage when they were kidnapped by Somalian pirates in the Gulf of Aden in April 1999.

The incident hit the news at the time, but was later forgotten.

I was wondering whether their experience would still have enough for a long personal interview. You can read the result in the latest Vene-lehti. (Only in Finnish, unfortunately. Vene-lehti is the biggest sailing magazine in Finland.)

The interview took place in Lahti. Pertti and Pirkko still remembered everything to the last detail. They had photo albums, official documents, a book where their story ended up, maps etc.

Even if we sat in a warm and cozy restaurant, imagining the kidnapping gave me the chills. Sailing in a nice breeze on a moon river, far out the sea, when suddenly you hear a motor boat getting closer…

That relentless determination is something to look up to!

The couple recovered well from the experience and they are still sailing with the same boat. They seem to have accepted the experience and just moved on in their life. It happened, we survived, let’s move on.

As a fine epilog, Pertti got to go back and save the boat he built himself. He went back to Aden, fixed the boat for a few months and sailed it to the Mediterranean Sea – all by himself. That relentless determination is something to look up to!


Pirkko and Pertti last fall at Vesijärvi in Lahti.

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