Maria Björnstam

Maria Björnstam, captain, Sweden

Maria Björnstam was the first female maritime captain in Sweden. She grew up in Gothenburg, Karlskrona and Stockholm. After studies in Kalmar and 36 month of job experience at seas, she applied to the Maritime academy in Gothenburg and in 1970 she graduated as the first Swedish, female captain. In 1973 she took part in an experiment known as the Acali experiment, in which five men and six women went on a dramatic raft expedition across the Atlantic Ocean for 101 days, to contribute to Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés’ study of human aggression and sexuality. It was known in the media as the “sex raft”. In 2018, Marcus Lindeen, a Swedish documentary film maker made a documentary about the experiement, The raft. In the documentary seven of the crew members meet again and talk about their experiences, Maria Björnstam being one of them.

Björnstam spent more than 40 years at seas.

Photo: Thomas Johansson