In 2019, 80 years have passed since Ålander Uno Ekblom set off on the voyage of his life, an extraordinary adventure. On 8 March, Åland Post commemorates his implausible achievement as the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean to the USA in a small rustic style boat.
Uno Ekblom (1905–1955) from Torp, Eckerö, nurtured a dream of America. Aiming to visit the New York World’s Fair, he planned to make the voyage by his own boat. Already in 1936, when he had his motor boat built, he was planning for future long voyages and bad weather. Named Eckerö, the double-ended wooden boat measured 9.7 meter and was equipped with a hot-bulb engine that barely reached 10 horsepower. It had no spare engine and the technical equipment was modest.
On 3 May 1939, he set off on his Atlantic crossing from Åland via Stockholm and Gothenburg, where his Swedish crew of two came on board. The two proved to be an encumbrance more than a help; one of them was continually seasick and the other was a heavy smoker, using up all the matches meant to light the engine. Two months after departure, however, Uno reached New York, creating quite a stir on both sides of the Atlantic. Some of the newspaper articles adorn the centre of the stamp sheet.
Because of the war, Uno remained in New York until 1950, when he settled in the state of Oregon. In 1955, he was found drowned on the coast together with his wrecked boat. The stamp shows a collage of photos from the photo album Uno left behind.
|Date of issue||8 March 2019|
|Stamp size||40 x 30 mm|
|Sheet size||2 x 12 stamps|
|Perforation||12 per 2 cm|
|Printing method||4-colour offset|