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A daring crew prepares to cross the Atlantic – in a Viking ship

Not for 1000 years has there been a Viking journey this ambitious.

Right now, a crew of modern Vikings are preparing an ambitious voyage across the North Atlantic Ocean.

Sailing on the largest Viking ship built in modern times, the Draken Harald Hårfagre, they will relive the legendary journey of Leif Erikson. A thousand years ago, he sailed west across the Atlantic to discover the New World – many centuries before Christopher Columbus.

If the forces of nature allow it, the Draken will set out from its homeport at Haugesund on the Norwegian west coast on April 24. They will sail first to Iceland and then southern tip of Greenland (both of which are important historical Viking sites), and then continue along the traditional route to arrive at Newfoundland in modern-day Canada, around June 1.

Through summer the Draken will sail on to mainland Canada and into the Great Lakes, to visit a number of North American ports – including Toronto, Chicago and New York City. You can see the full route here.

 

The Draken is not an exact replica of any known ship. It is, however, inspired by the historical Gokstad ship – a large, 9th Century Viking ship that was recovered from a burial mound in Norway, and is currently on display at The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.

For the Expecition America 2016, the Draken will be crewed by 32 sailors, selected among nearly 4000 applicants.

A chase boat will follow them throughout the voyage, to provide security, cargo space and communications. On the Draken itself there is no “under deck” save for a small storage, so the crew will sleep in watches in a tent that can shelter 16 sailors at a time.

Draken Harald Hårfagre is named after Harald Fairhair, the Viking king who united Norway into one kingdom. He had his seat at Avaldsnes, just across the Karmsund strait from Haugesund, where the ship is just now being prepared for its most daring voyage.

At Avaldsnes itself you will now find excavation sites, a History Centre and a reconstructed Viking farm.

 

Sailing a Viking ship! In 3 months time we will be back on the ocean. #vikingship #sailing #expeditionamerica2016

Et bilde publisert av Draken Harald Hårfagre (@drakenharaldharfagre)

 

 

 

Woody attaching cables for navigation equipment. #vikingship #drakenharaldhårfagre #draken

Et bilde publisert av Draken Harald Hårfagre (@drakenharaldharfagre)

 

 

The woodwork on Draken is fantastic. This is the bow ornamentations. #vikingship #vikingskip #expeditionamerica2016 @hjerleid

Et bilde publisert av Draken Harald Hårfagre (@drakenharaldharfagre)

 

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