Following the Viking trail: The world’s largest Viking ship in modern times, the Dragonship Harald Fairhair, is now setting out on the hazardous journey across the North Atlantic. The ship, named after the king who united Norway in the 900’s, would have sailed from the Viking village Avaldsnes in Haugesund on Sunday, but had to wait for better weather.

Photo: Peder Jacobsson

– We need to lie still for a while and wait for the right moment between two low-pressure areas, which is exactly what the Vikings would have done, says the ship’s Swedish captain Björn Ahlander.

The ship will travel to the US via Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland, in the wake of Leif Eriksson and other Vikings. It is a journey filled with challenges. According to Björn Ahlander, who previously worked as rig manager at Götheborg*, one of the most critical points is the passage over the North Atlantic. And they need to hurry:

– We have a month to do it, because the only time when strong winds and low-pressure areas can be avoided is in May. Then you have a good chance at making it across.

(*Götheborg is a sailing replica of an 18th century Swedish ship – the world’s largest operational wooden sailing vessel)

Through dangerous waters: The ship will be escorted by a rescue boat that will only interfere in life-threatening situations. Bjorn Ahlander says that although he and the crew, a total of 33 men and women, are well equipped, the conditions will be rough and dangerous.

– We’ll sail through the world’s most dangerous waters, including the southern tip of Greenland, with plenty of ice and cold. The ship is open topped, offering us no protection at all. Things can quickly develop into extremely dangerous situations.

The ship is equipped with modern navigation instruments, but also historical items, such as a magnetic compass and a sun compass.

– We are aware of that most instruments can stop working, since electronics and salt water aren’t best buddies. So we have the navigation methods of the Vikings, from the 1700s and 2016, says Björn Ahlander.

The Dragonship Harald Fairhair is the largest Longship built in modern times. Its construction started in 2010 and was completed in 2012. The Norwegian businessman Sigurd Aase is the person behind the project. He traces his roots to Haugesund and has a great interest in history and culture.

Translated from Swedish to English by Grimfrost, from



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