On April 24th the world's largest Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, will set sail from her homeport of Haugesund, Norway and take on the challenge of crossing the North Atlantic Ocean, in the wake of the original Vikings a 1000 years before. The route takes her from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and USA.
The ship is a recreation of what the Vikings would call a ”Great Ship”, built with archaeological knowledge of found ships, using old boat building traditions and the legends of viking ships from the Norse sagas. Draken Harald Hårfagre is the largest Viking ship sailing in modern times.
Expedition America 2016
Expedition America 2016 will find out what it’s like to cross the North Atlantic Ocean in an open ship reliving the voyages the Vikings made around 750-1100 AD. The aim is to explore the world and embrace the Viking spirit to look beyond the horizon and take on challenges, to inspire people to take on adventures.
”It is not an easy thing to tame a Dragon, it takes a lot of the sailors. The work is hard, wet and tough, sailing an open ship across the challenging waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.” says Captain Björn Ahlander. An open ship does not provide a lot of shelter, the crew sleep in a tent aboard, resting between watches whilst the others brave the cold winds outside. Draken Harald Harfagre is crewed by 35 sailors, chosen from over 4000 applicants.
Vikings - the great explorers
"Without the Viking ships there would not be a Viking age. The Vikings are known to be brutal raiders but in fact they were, more than anything else, traders, farmers, explorers and most important - seafarers." – William Fitzhugh, director of the Arctic Studies Center at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Dragon’s head ceremony
The Expedition America starts in Haugesund, Norway with a Dragon’s head ceremony at Vikinggården Avaldsnes, the 23rd of April. The dragon’s head is traditionally not mounted until departure for longer journeys and its purpose is to protect the ship and the crew from sea monsters, bad weather, evil creatures and unforeseen raids. The ships mythological head is uncovered in the ceremony, and the great adventure of sailing the historical route from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the USA will be wished fair winds and following seas.
From June 1st to August 25th Draken Harald Hårfagre will be a part of Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2016. For updates visit their facebook.com/drakenharaldharfagre and website with real time tracking of the ship’s position www.drakenexpeditionamerica.com