It’s not a movie neither a video game. What you see is a real Viking ship sailing in the ocean. Harald Hårfagre is 35 metres long and almost 8 metres wide, with a sailing area of 260 square metres on a 24-metre-high spruce mast. These days, she’s sailing in the great American lakes. It seems to have drifted out of a fairy tail but she really exists, she sails and she has just crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
Harald Hårfagre sailed off from Hausegund, Norway, last April but the project started six years ago with the aim to build a perfect Viking ship and sail along the old American routes.
Harald Hårfagre (the name comes from the king who uniifed Norway) left the Norwegian coast last April 26th, she reached Iceland, Greenland, Canada and now, after some bureaucratic hiccups, she is sailing in great lakes. The aim of Expedition America 2016, in addition to having this mythical journey, is to meet people from all around the world and drive them to go “beyond the horizon”.
The crossing wants to dispel some old myths, too: Vikings weren’t those violent people we are used to think about (or, at least, they were as violent as other ancient peoples). They were experienced sailors, craftsmen, traders and storytellers; moreover….. they didn’t wear any horned helmets ( a stereotype launched by some Scandinavian painters and Wagner’s Nibelungen representations).
This ship was built exactly like Viking would have done it. Even the on-board life is like theirs.
The crew (who sails with guard duties of 4 hours) has only one tent (there isn’t any zone below deck since there’s only a little space to store food and little else) and an open-air kitchen. However, the ship is constantly followed by another smaller one, for safety reasons and to take photos and videos.
Harald Hårfagre’s construction works started in Hausegund, Norway, in 2010 by following all the known “Viking technology”. In fact, it’s not a copy but a real modern Viking ship. She was launched in 2012 and, before leaving for her Expedition America 2016, she sailed between Norway and UK.