Enjoy this account of a Viking ship that visited our lands, submitted by Lord Snaebjorn inn Danski, of the Barony of Delftwood:
In the final weekend of August, the shores of our fair Barony of Delftwood were subject to a surprising sight, one of the fierce dragonships of Viking raiders at our shore! Though we are used to seeing Viking warriors and tradesmen amongst us, never before has such a mighty vessel as the Draken Harald Harfagre been seen in our waters.
Sunday, August 28th, found many of the citizens of Delftwood heading to the pier in Oswego, NY, to look upon and take a tour of this long traveled craft. Joined there by friends from Thescorre, Coppertree and other groups throughout the northern lands of our fair kingdom. Many, if not most, even turned out in garb for the occasion and there are rumors of a betrothal as the ship was exited as well.
An impressive sight it was, as the magnificent craft was 114 feet in length from her fierce dragon headed prow to the very stern of the ship, and 26 feet wide at her widest point. Round shields adorned her rails, and the top of her mast stood nearly 80 feet. Built in the same manner as those ancient ships which once sailed the seas, she was even finished with a mixture of linseed oil and pine tar. Christian, the ship’s engineer and one of its longest serving crew members, told how the ship had been built as faithfully to the originals as possible with the exception of using saws to cut the planks instead of axes, and the careful hiding of a few modern additions such as an engine below deck for emergency use or, as would later become necessary during its trip through the New York canal system, when the sails could not be used.
The Draken Harald Harfagre (Har-fog-ra for those who may have trouble pronouncing such names) was built and launched 4 years ago by a private owner who wished to test the seaworthiness of the famed Viking longships. For two years it sailed along the Norwegian coasts before following the Viking raiding and trade routes to Ireland. It was then decided to recreate the famed voyage of Leif Ericsson from Greenland to North America.
Launched on April 26th from its homeport in Norway, the Harfagre followed the traditional routes westward to Greenland and from there followed what is believed to be the same route Leif Ericsson would have taken. On June 1st the ship reached Saint Anthony, Newfoundland, and proceeded up to land in L’Anse aux Meadows, just as Leif Ericcson had over one thousand years ago.
Since then it has traveled down into the Great Lakes and competed in a series of races and port visits as part of the Tall Ships Challenge. She then headed down through the canal system to Albany, where she once more had her mast set and her sails opened to sail down the Hudson to Kingston and New York City. She is now heading to her winter berth in the lands of our Eastern cousins within the Barony Beyond the Mountain (Mystic, CT).
It was during this trip down the canals though that the Draken Harald Harfagre met another ship on its own journey to test the capabilities of its ancestors. On the shores of Coppertree’s Sylvan Beach, the fierce dragonship docked side by side with the Hokule’a, a replica catamaran built in the style of those ships used to settle the Pacific islands such as Samoa or Hawaii. The Hokule’a, is a much smaller craft and contains no engine at all, but is nearing completion of an even more impressive journey.
Launched in May of 2014, the Hokule’a has been circumnavigating the globe for over 2 years. Sailing west from Hawaii it has made stops in Tahiti, Samoa, New Zealand, Bali, Mozambique, South Africa, Brazil, and the Virgin Islands. It has sailed the entire eastern seaboard and is now heading up through the canals to the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Seaway before it turned around and headed back down through the canals and began the final leg of its journey down through the Gulf Coast and Panama Canal to get back home.
For further information about either of these ships, their routes, or their missions you can visit their websites; www.drakenexpeditionamerica.com and www.hokulea.com
Photos courtesy of Lord Snaebjorn