Jaakko Kurttila

Royals - extraordinary everyday people

The lifestyle of a sailor has been an inspiration for many lately. But is it really so glamorous? Not really, says Jaakko Kurttila - a  professional seafarer. Many sailors work on large cargo vessels that stop only to unload for a few hours in remote harbours and then head out to sea again. So work might mean leading a life of solitude for months on end. 

Many of us lead lives where it’s difficult to distinguish between work and leisure. The line gets blurred like Ville Malja says. Unless of course you are a sailor, when off duty really means off duty! It’s quite impossible to navigate a ship or load cargo with your mobile phone from your sofa! Work has taken Jaakko to various places on earth during the last 12 years - his latest assignment to the Indian Ocean for 3 months. As a clearly sociable fellow Jaakko has recently found and interesting assignment closer to home. He is working as a chief mate on a smaller cargo ship carrying up to 2000 tons of general cargo and is operating more on “short notice” around Europe. A smaller ship can dock closer to the city centres and so the crew gets to spend shore leave while the ship is awaiting being loaded. 

During 4 weeks off duty (following after 4 weeks on duty) Jaakko sometimes pilots vessels like this MS Sofia or schooner Kulkuri taking passengers to see the beautiful city of Helsinki by sea. You can follow @jaakkovarpunen’s adventures on Instagram.

Jaakko remembers his first pair of Saint Vacant’s vividly. He purchased the pair of green ankle boots from Turku and wore them out. Later he was wondering if there still was a possibility to repair them as he looked up the maker of them and came to meet me in the Kruununhaka shop. Jaakko inquired if I happened to have a cup of coffee and I replied that unfortunately there is no coffee but I have one bottle of beer. Jaakko decided that if he could have that beer he would buy a pair of red shoes. And he did.

(outdoor photo Samuli Pentti / text & indoor photos Janne Lax)