Started Sailing

Viking longships and knorrs.

by Han
(Brittany, France)

Viking Longship

Viking Longship

The Vikings were, apart from their other qualities, excellent shipwrights and sailors. They sailed south and east along Europe's coasts as far as the Black Sea and Turkey, and north and west to Greenland and Newfoundland.

For more information about their astonishing culture, see: www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/vikings/index.shtml

As they had no saws, only axes, chisels, knives and adzes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adze) were available for their woodwork.

To build their ships they used straight oak trunks, which were split to rather thick boards and then smoothed with the adze. The ships were clinker-built (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinker_(boat_building)) and thus needed only relatively thin boards; nevertheless they were sturdy enough to survive wild seas and light enough to be dragged overland.

They can be devided in two types: the longship, low-slung and slender, used for raids, warfare, to show off and to be buried in when the warlord died, and the knorr, the workhorse: a deeper hull for heavy loads, and a much wider beam.

The Vikings also innovated on the use of the square sail: first they used a long boom (beitass) to push the luff further forward when tacking, which was later replaced by bowlines with the same function. Beating windward to sixty degrees they kept speed; a longship replica, built in 1893, sailed (mostly upwind) to America in 28 days, a remarkable feat!

For pictures and video's, see:
http://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/index.php?id=1276&L=1 (a Danish site, but partly in English).

And to amuse you, the site of a Dutch sailor who built his own replica's: www.vikingorm.nl/EN_Page_Orm.htm.

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They can be devided in two types: the longship, low-slung and slender, used for raids, warfare, to show off and to be buried in when the warlord died, and the knorr, the workhorse: a deeper hull for heavy loads, and a much wider beam.

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A nostalgic Viking, awesome design who are the bulders of these extra ordinary ships. Look at the curving beauty of that one, wheneverfashion for play I visit Denmark this is my main hobby like the Tin-Tin collection of the costly ship statues.

Nov 23, 2009
Thanks, Lothaire...
by: Han

For your kind words. Busy with another project, it took me some time to react, sorry for that.
Receiving reactions like yours make the trouble I took to research for and write these articles double worthwhile.
Hope to hear from you again,
Regards,

Han.

Nov 15, 2009
Useful information
by: Lothaire

I was on holiday in Danmark this summer and we had a stop at the Viking ships' museum of Roskilde. They expose re-constructions of millenium old wrecks found in a sea-arm as well as replica's "as they were by then" of two of them.
Thank you for providing usefui information and links to learn more about this very rich northern european history and craftsmanship.

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