Viking ship sets sail to Navy Pier
Loop North News

Photo by Peder Jacobsson

(Above) The Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre in the North Sea on July 3, 2014, on its way to Shetland Islands. Photos by Peder Jacobsson. Click on images to view larger versions.

Viking ship sets sail to Navy Pier

25-Mar-16 – An interpretation of a ship used by Vikings to explore – some say plunder – will arrive in Chicago in July after being rowed by a 32-person crew 3,000 miles from Norway.

The ship, called Draken Harald Hårfagre, will participate in the annual Tall Ships festival scheduled for July 27-31 at Navy Pier.

Launched in 2012, it is the largest Viking ship built in modern times – 114 feet long by 26 feet wide. It is 78 feet tall and has an 853 square foot sail.

Patti Lock, in charge of special projects for Tall Ships America, says it will be “the star of the show.”

“They put out an appeal for the vessel because they need a lot of rowers,” she says. “And they had 4,000 applicants.”

Photo by Peder Jacobsson (Left) Crew members battle wind and wave in the North Sea between Norway and United Kingdom.

It took two years to build the wooden ship, using knowledge from archeology, Norse literature, and Norwegian boatbuilding tradition.

Aided by sail, 50 oarsmen – two on each oar – propel the ship to a top speed of 16 miles per hour.

Except for two bathrooms and an area for navigation equipment, the only shelter is a tent that can accommodate 16 sailors at a time. The crew sleeps in shifts – four hours of work followed by four hours of rest.

Trip across Atlantic will take about 38 days

The journey will begin in Haugesund, Norway, on April 24. Following the same route Vikings took a thousand years ago, the Draken Harald Hårfagre will make stops in Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland, Canada. From the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it will get to the Great Lakes and should be in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, around July 8 and Chicago on July 27.

Photo by Peder Jacobsson

More than 15 vessels are expected during the five-day Tall Ships event, which will start on July 27 with the “Parade of Sail.” The cost to board the ships will be $25.

After Chicago, the Draken Harald Hårfagre will visit Green Bay, Wisconsin, Duluth, Minnesota, and then reverse course back to New York.

From the eighth to eleventh centuries, Vikings conducted raids from their native Scandinavia into Europe and elsewhere. Though the name is synonymous with piracy, archeologists believe the sordid reputation of the Vikings is not entirely warranted.


By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News |

Published 25-Mar-16 5:45 AM

Loop North News


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