A love declaration to life at sea
Behind every ship model lies a story of the ship the model depicts, a piece of history captured in the intricacies of the model. But with the model of Ponape, the Italian-built four-masted bark which criss-crossed the oceans during the first three decades of the 1900s, the real story lies in the people behind the model, and one man specifically.
The ship model was built from scratch using unconventional materials found in the prison camp where Åland-born sea captain Runar Husell was detained during World War II. Most of the metal details were built from brass which Husell extracted from a wasted iron bedstead.
Runar’s vision went far beyond building a resembling model of the windjammer; he essentially set out to build a fully functioning Ponape in the scale 1:40. This meant for instance that for every brace winch, Runar extracted 82 small pieces of brass from the bedstead and used them as building material. The model also includes a fully furnished captain’s saloon and chart house, along with the traditional pea soup pot on the stove in the caboose.
The ship model Ponape is a tale of survival through insurmountable loss but also of success against all odds. Ponape is also a testimony of the grit by which the Ålanders went from poverty to welfare by seafaring.