The Strange-ness: Viking Ship Heading for North America

Draken outside Norwegian coast. Photographer Peder Jacobsson.
Draken outside Norwegian coast. Photographer Peder Jacobsson.

The world´s largest Viking Ship departures from Haugesund, Norway and sails towards Iceland, Greenland, Canada and USA.

Released by Sarah Blank,

On April 24, 2016, the world’s largest Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, set sail from her homeport of Haugesund, Norway and began the challenge of crossing the North Atlantic Ocean, to explore the world as the Vikings did a thousand years ago.

The route takes her from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and finally the US. Even though she is a great sailing ship, no one can predict the weather conditions along the way and the crew will stand trial for a real challenge according to Björn Ahlander, captain of Draken Harald Hårfagre:

It´s hard to say which stretch will be the toughest before we´ve set sail, but the area that should be respected more than anywhere else, is the waters of Cape Farewell by the coast of Greenland – among the most dangerous waters of the world. It´s extremely windswept and there will probably be a lot of ice.

Draken Harald Hårfagre is a recreation of what the Vikings would call a ”Great Ship”, built with archaeological knowledge from findings, using old boatbuilding traditions and the legends of Viking ships from the Norse sagas. Draken Harald Hårfagre is the largest Viking ship sailing in modern times.

The crew

The 32 bold men and women in the crew of Draken Harald Hårfagre, originates from Norway, Sweden, USA, Canada, Estonia, Russia, Spain, France and UK, they are all under the command of Captain Björn Ahlander.

It is a challenge to tame the Dragon which makes reliable seamanship extremely important for the expedition. We had a delicate task to pick a crew of 32 members out of the 4000 volunteers who applied. The work onboard is heavy, wet and cold, therefore it demands a great physical and mental condition. There will be no privacy for the crew, they will be exposed to rain and cold weather with only a short breaks to sleep, says Captain Björn Ahlander.

Sailing a ship like Draken Harald Hårfagre is a great opportunity to gain new knowledge; whilst learning and rediscovering old techniques, you also create and invent new ones, says Karolina Malmek, Crew member.

This is a fantastic opportunity to create history by reliving the challenges of the Viking ancestors. An adventure you wouldn’t miss, Arild Nilsen, Crew member.

The aim is to explore the world, embrace the Viking sprit to look beyond the horizon and seek adventure, to inspire people to take on challenges, Sigurd Aase, owner and the man behind the project. 

The Expedition America started in Haugesund, Norway with a Dragon’s head Ceremony at Vikinggården Avaldsnes, on April 23, 2016, at 4 pm. 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.

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Draken Harald Hårfagre – hard facts

An open clinker-built Viking ship with,

Hull: Oak

Mast: Douglas fir

Rigg: Hemp

Sail: Silk


35 m (115 ft) from stem to stern

8 m (26 ft) wide

24 m (78 ft) mast

260 square meters sail


All dates are due to fair winds and following seas. Draken will be a part of Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2016 between July 1st and August 25th.

  • April 24 – Haugesund, Norway
  • May 3 – Reykjavik, Iceland
  • May 16 – Quqortoq, Greenland*
  • June 1 – St Antony, Newfoundland, Canada*
  • June 15 – Quebec City, Quebec, Canada*
  • July 1-3 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • July 8 – Fairport Harbor, Ohio, USA
  • July 14 – Bay City, Michigan, USA
  • July 27 – Chicago, Illinois, USA
  • August 5 – Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
  • August 18 – Duluth, Minnesota, USA
  • September – Oswego, NY Canals, New York, USA*
  • September 15 – New York City, New York, USA*
  • October – Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, USA*

*Approximated dates.


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About Kay Whatley 2309 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.