The Draken Harald Harfgre is the world’s largest Viking ship, and it is sailing to Norfolk next week, which is quite possibly the best news the Commonwealth has received all year. Sigurd Aase, the owner and captain of this scourge of the seas has one simple mission: “The aim of the Draken Harald Hårfagre project is to explore the world and embrace the Viking spirit – to look beyond the horizon and seek adventure and to inspire people to take on challenges.” Aase, a Norwegian entrepreneur took his vision to the best ship builders and historians in Scandinavia to bring the ship to life, the Draken Harald Harfgre is the largest Viking ship currently at sea and is twice the size of ships unearthed archaeologically.
WTKR has reported that the ship will sail into Norfolk on Sept. 13 – 16, and in partnership with Nauticus and Sail Nauticus, will dock at Hampton Roads Naval Museum on its Expedition America: East Coast Tour 2018. During the tour, the ship will port at 14 harbors across the U.S. from Maine to South Carolina, including stops in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
The ship, named after legendary Viking Harald Hårfagre, the first king of Norway (who is a featured character on the show “Vikings”), was assembled in the town of Haugesund in Western Norway. Interestingly, the Vikings did not record their process for building ships or how they were sailed and navigated. According to Aase, the Draken Harald Hårfagre is a model of what would be referred to as a “great ship” and was re-created based on archaeological evidence and supplemented with evidence gained from the old Norse legends and sagas.
In the U.S., most school children are taught about Columbus’ discovery of North American in 1492, yet new evidence suggests that the Vikings beat him to the continent by around 500 years. The Viking explorer who discovered the continent, Leif Eriksson, was born in Iceland, but raised in Greenland. His exploits in North America eventually took him to present day Newfoundland and were turned into sagas around the 11th century before being written in the 12th and 13th centuries.
Erikkson would have traveled on the same kind of boat as the Draken Harald Hårfagre, which is 115 feet long – stern to stern – 26 feet wide, with 260 square meters (311 yards) of silk sail that raises up on a mast that is 79 feet tall. “At a hundred and fourteen feet of crafted oak, twenty-seven feet on the beam, displacing eighty tons, and with a thirty-two hundred square foot sail, this magnificent ship is indeed worthy of a king,” claims the project’s website. The ship is adorned with a traditional dragon’s head and adorned by patterns and figures from Viking ships found in Norway.”
The Viking ship set sail for the first time since 2012 with sea-trials being held off the Norwegian coast between 2012-2013. Her first voyage was from Norway to England in 2014. The schedule for the ship’s events in Norfolk can be found here.
And for those looking to set sail on a Viking ship of their own, well you’re in luck, because there’s one for sale right here in Richmond.
All photos from the Draken Harald Harfgre’s Facebook page.