Ever dreamed of sailing down the James in sweet, Scandinavian style? Dream no more; one lucky buyer can now own a handmade, 17-foot long viking longboat, built to one-fourth scale of the originals. The boat is named Svanen, Norwegian for “The Swan,” and bears a graceful, hand-carved swan for a bow. On Craigslist, the boat is pictured flying flags of Norway and Scotland, and comes with a 50-foot sail and two sweeps, or oars, for use when the wind fails.
Of course, it’s not the first Viking boat Richmond has seen. When beloved heavy metal icon Dave Brockie, GWAR’s Oderus Urungus, passed away in 2014, his bandmates and fans gave him the perfect send-off before the annual GWARBQ–a full Viking funeral. His stage costume was laid out in a boat, full of offerings, which was set ablaze by a flaming arrow in Hadad’s Lake. The funeral was held in 2014, and according to the Craigslist ad, Svanen was launched in 2014. Could it have been part of the ceremony, maybe as a secondary boat?
Although we couldn’t reach the seller over email, a connection seems likely; local reddit users say they’ve seen it parked in front of an address on MacArthur Avenue known as The Slave Pit, an artist collective operated by GWAR.
GWAR-related or not, who doesn’t love Vikings? While Vikings have a well-deserved reputation for being brutal raiders–the name meant “pirate raids”–they were also farmers, merchants, and explorers. Women and men fought side-by-side in battle, wearing the same armor and wielding the same weapons, and the Norse seafarers maintained a rich cultural exchange with the Middle East. Noted Persian explorer Ibn Rustah described the Vikings not as barbarian warriors, but as honest, generous people. The geographer wrote, “They keep their clothes clean and the men adorn themselves with armbands of gold… They are generous to each other, honour their guests and treat well those who seek refuge with them, and all who come to visit them. They do not allow anyone to annoy or harm these. And whenever anyone dares to treat them unfairly, they help and defend them.”
If you fancy a new job in raiding or want to prepare for your own eventual passing, you just need $9,000 to meet the asking price. It’s a steep price, but a worthwhile business expense for your future career as a Viking warrior.