08 March 2016

Vikings Were Sailors!

I don't know about you, but when I think of Viking ships, I think of old Hagar the Horrible cartoons, with the bumbling marauders rowing their clumsy craft slowly across the North Sea. How they ever reached Iceland, no less the coast of America, was a mystery to me.

Hagar the Horrible

A mystery, that is, until I learned what sailing on a real Viking ship was like. Watch this amazing video to find out for yourself:

In case you were wondering (I was!), they were hitting speeds up to 14 knots.

We tend to underestimate the technology and skills of the ancients... they didn't have iPhones or Google... what could they possibly have known that's worth remembering? Primitives!

Historical re-creations like this hemp-rigged Norwegian Viking ship remind us we wouldn't be reading magic screens in every last corner of the world without the 'primitive' technologies and brave -- very brave -- men and women who came before us.


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  1. Hope that you will consider sending a review copy of your book (if you haven't already done so) to WoodenBoat editors, PO Box 78, Brooklin ME 04617. --Pat Lown, WB research director

  2. John, today your book arrived in Holland. Great reading. Did you really do the artwork and the drawings? I followed your blog during the voyage, but this book is fine.

    1. Yes, I did everything. Completely hand-crafted, including artwork and type-setting. Yes, I'm a control freak.

  3. My ancestry goes back to the Scottish Gunn clan which was founded by one 'Olaf The Black' some sort of marauding Viking so I kind of like Hagar cartoons.

    Loved the video of the Viking ship sailing.


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