On 8th March, Aland will be releasing a special 1.60 postage stamp to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Uno Ekblom’s (1905-1955) two-month journey across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City in his 30-foot wooden motorboat, Eckero.
The stamp depicts Uno Ekblom, his boat and a 48-star American flag. Extra pictures from Ekblom’s photo album are also featured on the stamp. Uno Ekblom was the first person to navigate across the Atlantic Ocean to reach the USA in a small motorboat.
Ekblom always dreamt of visiting the 1939 New York World’s Fair. He started his journey on 3rd May 1939 from Aland and two other crew members joined him from Sweden. The boat had a hot-bulb engine which only generated 10 horsepower of energy. It is said that the two crew members proved to be a hindrance for Ekblom, as one of them was always seasick and the other one was a chain smoker, who lit all the matches that were supposed to be used for lighting the engine. Even after going through so many difficulties, Ekblom managed to reach New York.
The stamp was designed by Lina Loikas while it was printed by offset in sheets of 24 by the security printer of Belgium’s postal administration, Bpost. The perforated labels between two panes feature newspaper headlines about Ekblom’s remarkable achievement.
A 2018 film called The Boy Who Crossed the Atlantic in English, directed by Per-Ove Hognos, narrates the same story. The film is based on a recently republished 1940 book by Ekblom.
Image Courtesy: Aland Post