Leif Erikson's Viking Ship: Crossing the Atlantic

KorbenDallas

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I'm basically trying to solicit a few opinions whether this type of a vessel is capable of crossing 2,000 miles of the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was allegedly:
viking-ship-leif-erickson.jpg

This is apparently the replica of the Leif's ship. It was built and allegedly crossed the Atlantic for the 1893 Expo in Chicago.

vikingreplicaship.jpg

The ship has no deck for the water to roll over, and I have my doubts to consider that this ship could cross without sinking first. Images like the one below make me think that we are being played for a fool.

leifs ship.jpg

I think it could cross a lake ... may be not even one of the Great Lakes. Some smaller lake maybe, but the Atlantic Ocean sounds like an overkill.

leif1ship.jpg

Of course we are being shown that it is possible to do such a crossing in a viking ship. The below ship is almost 3 times bigger, and was hardly built using 1,200 year old technology. Possibly has a GPS, and God knows what else:
  • Called the Draken Harald Hårfagre, this Viking vessel is 115' long, 25' wide, and comes equipped with 25 oars and one large mast with a single sail that is 3,200 square feet.
Either on the website, or in the video a storm is being mentioned. Here is a storm in the Atlantic.


I doubt this 115 foot ship was built using this technique.

building_viking_ship.jpg

And something tells me that the viking shipyard looked nothing like the image below.

viking_ship_building.jpg


A Viking Ship in a Museum
oseberg-viking-longship.jpg

KD: I think that the original viking ship would either fall apart, or sink in the ocean. Any opinions?
 

Banta

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So, from purely a size perspective, ships that small can definitely cross the Atlantic. Ocean faring sailboats these days can be even smaller and then of course enclosed, one person type vessels like this:

37.jpg

The April Fool

Would You Cross the Atlantic Ocean in this Boat?
That’s exactly what Hugo Vihlen did when he sailed from Casablanca to Florida in 1968, aboard this
6-foot sailboat. On his third attempt Vihlen sailed 4, 480 miles in 85 days, and established the record
for the smallest yacht to cross the Atlantic Ocean — a feat that stood for 25 years (1968 – 1993).
"April Fool" - International Small Craft Center

Ugh, actually, I'm not sure I believe that ship made it either! I think the play might be getting dropped off in Newfoundland from a larger vessel. Who's gonna argue?

Back to the Leif Erikson:
The vessel set sail in 1926 from Bergen traveling to Labrador and then to Boston and New York City. It sailed through the Great Lakes to the western shores of Lake Superior. When Captain Folgerø and his crew landed at Duluth on June 23, 1927, they had traveled a distance of 6,700 miles, the greatest distance for a ship of its size in modern history.
So, the issue here anyway isn't the size, it's the fact that it's an "open boat", no deck, as noted:

Cynics said the journey would have been impossible for the type of vessel Erikson likely used—an open boat with one sail. Even as a boy, Ellestad writes, Folgero became determined “to build and sail an open boat over the course taken by Leif Erikson, his hero, thus proving to the skeptics that it could be done and that the sagas spoke the truth.” At age fourteen Folgero went to sea; by 1910 the twenty-four-year-old seaman was a full captain. Fifteen years later he had enough experience—and money—to make his dream come true.

Folgero hired a shipbuilder in the remote Norwegian village of Korgen. Johan Peterson—along with his son Knute, grandson Christian Overlier, and others—constructed the vessel in a barn on the family farm using traditional techniques. Folgero claimed the boat was “a true type of the vessel that Leif Erikson used in the discovery of America in 997.” Historian Pat Labadie agrees—almost. According to Labadie, the Leif Erikson is a forty-two-foot wooden “fembøring” craft “patterned after the traditional Norwegian working craft that served coastal shippers and fisherfolk for centuries [and was] used by medieval Norse adventurers and explorers.” Labadie called the ship a “1920s small craft with some influence of the Viking tradition” but noted that it “can’t be construed as a replica of a historic vessel.” So the Leif Erikson is not a precise replica of a Viking craft, but rather a representation of the same class and style of boat likely used by Leif Erikson himself.
Damn cynics with their doubts!

On May 22, 1926, Folgero and his crew—John Johnson, Thomas Stavanes (often misidentified as Osvald Gabrielson), Kristian Anderson, and the captain’s dog—set sail...
It wasn’t easy. The crew faced hurricane-like winds, icebergs, and weeks of fog. But they made it to Labrador and on to Boston, covering 6,700 miles in fifty days. There Folgero met with disappointment: a deal to sell the replica vessel to a community on the East Coast fell through, and he was counting on the money to finance his next adventure. So he accepted an offer to sail to Philadelphia to represent Norway at the Sesquicentennial Exposition and then another offer from H. H. Borgen, president of Duluth’s Nordlandslaget Society, to come to the Zenith City to participate in the organization’s state convention. By the time Folgero and his crew arrived in Duluth on June 23, 1927, they had covered roughly 10,000 miles.
The Leif Erickson Replica Viking Vessel | Zenith City Online

So, life's aspiration complete, Folgero immediately arranges for his ship to be sold ("if I make it, you can totally buy it from me!"). That falls through, so as a consolation prize, he gets invited to be top pig at the fair. Very fortunate man!
 

Worsaae

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It seems likely to me. The northern hemisphere is more closely related than modern maps might indicate due to the 3d projection unto a 2d map. Norway, Denmark, England, Iceland, Greenland and Vinland (America) are very close in proximity. So sure, if you did it in 1 trip from Denmark across the atlantic to America, it looks surreal however if you consider that they traveled between the previously mentioned countries it seems plausible.

They didn't have GPS but they used the stars and an instrument known as a sunstone to navigate
 

jd755

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It's a replica made using contemporary know how, tools and wood. Based on ships dug out of the ground/river or sea mud. None of the ships dug out are dateable. There is no way to know what sort of ship old Leif sailed in or if he was even anything more than a fictional character.
To me we are being presented with things to 'look at', such as this character and this replica, deliberately so we don't notice something else.
If the replica that went to Chicago did actually sail across the Atlantic I'll lay odds it was in company with a steam ship.
Mind the French bought a Civil War ironclad and towed it over to France without mishap so it seems the sea state at the time of the crossing is of vital importance to what gets across safely and what doesn't.
 

EmmanuelZorg

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In 1957, German Doctor Hannes Lindemann crossed the Atlantic in a small canvas and wood kayak. One would not expect such a boat to fare too well, but it worked.

What I question about the Viking ships as pictured, is what existed which does not remain in the surviving examples? By this I am referring to items which would have decomposed and left no trace (or were overlooked in the excavations and recovery process). We can guess there was sail, but did they also have some canvas or hide which they could use as a cover, to help from the deck being overcome by the waves? Such covers are options for kayaks, and practical ones when going into rougher waters. Modern collapsible kayaks also have inflatable air bladders on the sides for buoyancy and stability. Would something of similar function have been possible in the Viking ship? This is all speculation of course, but there is a lot of inferring of the ship appearance that extends beyond the remaining wooden skeletons of the ships as discovered.
 

JWW427

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I worked at a boatyard when I was a teenager repairing wood boats (when not cleaning filthy toilets and pumping gas) under the tutelage of really, really old salts. One was 90. I was curious about everything even at a snot-nosed 17.

What I know about the Viking ships is that they were/are "clinker" built with overlapping long and flexible planks. Very high tech for the age. They rolled with the waves and flexed quite a bit. Big rollers would have been surfed, so to speak. The ship flexed at the waterline and twisted at the axis.
These ships were the fastest in the world at the time given their hull design and keel. Good for open sea, great for river navigation.
Perhaps Leif had a 100 foot one? There are some known to be that long I believe. They used woolen sails and made a tent in the midships area.
It must have been a wild, wet, and cold sail even in summer. Miserable. They hugged coastlines when they needed to. Shallow draft.
Vikings are said to have made it down the Volga to the Black Sea. "Russe" means redheaded folks. Russia was partially settled by Norsemen and women. They loved trading more than fighting, which is NOT shown on the violence-at-all-cost TV shows.
Six weeks was the average west-east crossing time for early sailing vessels. I'll bet you one Yankee dollar the Norsemen did it in under four.

Larger wood Caravels, ships of the line, and more modern steel ships "fight" the sea instead of elegantly sailing with it in harmony.

I personally think that these designs far predated the Vikings, perhaps by thousands of years. We have inherited much from the ancients.
By the by, we speak Norse every day: "Thing, baby, sky, berserk," etc.

JWW

viking ship.jpeg
 
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jd755

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From here; First Viking Ship Replica: Inspired by Gokstad and Crossed Atlantic Ocean

The story began by sons of the owner of Gokstad farm
Gokstad was a farmland full of tales about the mystery of Viking ships. On hearing about those mysteries, the sons of the owner decided to dig out the plot of land. And as their wish, they found a bow of a ship. This discovery finally reached Viking archaeologists who came the Gokstad farm and ordered to stop the digging. The leader then came back with an archaeological team and started their excavation. The ship was buried with layers of blue clay to make it difficult to rot after 1000 years. Thereby, it was possible for the archaeologists to excavate and preserve the ship with accuracy.

Wait it gets better.

The idea for the First Viking Ship replica
In 1889, a General who we don’t exactly know his identity came up with the idea of replicating the Gokstad ship. The idea became the topic for Bergens Tidende, a major newspaper at that time. But the mass didn’t really pay attention to the idea. In 12.1892, a replica of Colombus’s ship would be on display in Chicago to celebrate 400 years of the first time that Colombus set his foot on America.

A group of insightful people in Norway saw this as an opportunity and challenged to counter the viewpoint of Columbus’s discovery. They pointed out that the Vikings constructed and crossed the Atlantic ocean nearly half a millennium prior to Columbus. They had firmly believed this and they just waited for the opportunity. According to the Norse sagas, their belief was right, but there was a lack of the real evidence. Then they learnt of the Gokstad and formed a team to construct a replica of the ship for proving their belief.

With the rank of the naval captain, Magnus Andersen became the leader of the ship and the project as well. He wanted to replicate the Gokstad ship and sail it from Norway to the fair right in Chicago.


And then they cracked it.

The journey to become the Sea Serpent
It was May of 1892 that the team started to construct the replica. The team met with the problems during the construction. And they faced the truth that it was very hard to find the exact material to construct the ship. Then they had to use some from Canada and some from the local. The ship was built in a private yard and the captain allowed no one to enter the place. This meant it included the photographers resulting in the lack of footage of “Viking” construction.

Fantastic!

And lastly this.

Off the Sea Serpent went to cross The Big Pond
From Oslo to Bergen, she was ready for the fateful journey of her life. The day was 30 April 1893. During the journey across the high wave, captain Andersen wrote carefully about how the ship acted under the harsh weather and the waves. He wrote down details how she performed well and even better than the modern ships.

Captain Andersen even let the ship in a race with some other ships before they reached New York. She rocked the whole race leaving her opponents behind. “Viking” whose design aged 1000 years earlier outpaced the-19th-century ships. This indicated this Sea Serpent replica nearly reached the point of perfection.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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In 1957, German Doctor Hannes Lindemann crossed the Atlantic in a small canvas and wood kayak. One would not expect such a boat to fare too well, but it worked.
Claiming and actually crossing are not exactly the same things. Mr. Konyukhov claims something crazy every year or so. Whether this is a headline maintenance, or something else, I do not know.

I have done quite some amateur fishing in both Pacific, and Atlantic back in the day. You have to be insane to bring an open boat out there. Claiming is easy though.

Would love to hear what some fishing pros could say about all of this.
 

Jim Duyer

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And yet they used they same ships to cross the very ferocious North Atlantic to invade England and other parts. I vote that they made it in stages, from Iceland to Greenland, Greenland to Frisia, yes the island that is no longer there, and then on to Newfoundland or parts south of there.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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And yet they used they same ships to cross the very ferocious North Atlantic to invade England and other parts.
I'm not sure what ferocious North Atlantic they had to cross. To get to England they needed to cross 20 miles of La Manche. Everywhere else they could sail along the shore skirting the main land.

lamanche.jpg
I vote that they made it in stages, from Iceland to Greenland, Greenland to Frisia, yes the island that is no longer there, and then on to Newfoundland or parts south of there.
Just randomly stumbled upon those in the middle of the ocean?
 

Jim Duyer

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Yes, if you redraw your line, but from Amsterdam (Closest to Angle in the Jutland peninsula where the Angles, of Anglo-Saxon fame came from) to about where it says " United Kingdom " or the old area of Northumberland, where they landed, it really is quite a bit of North Atlantic that they faced. What was once called the "Old North" by the Welsh was where Ing and his people landed, when they originally came to work as mercenaries for the Romans. Ing was "first over the wall" in attacking the Picts, under pay of the Romans, until he decided to stay on after the Romans left. The secret that many in power in England do not want you to know, is that Coel was actually Anglo-Saxon, and his people, the Coelings, form the basis for the ruling powers of northern England and Wales that was later claimed as the homeland of the ruling elite in England. Normandy was not yet the property of the Vikings (until some two hundred years later) but it would not have suited either of the Angles, Saxons or Jutes to pass through, and it would not explain how they were in England even prior to their so-called "invasions" in 545.
And, by the way, the Irish were in Iceland way prior to the Vikings. In fact, the Vikings report that they found prayer books and settlements there when they landed. Just as the Britons were in Greenland before the Vikings as well. Much of what we think we know is not even close.
 
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KorbenDallas

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Apologies, but to me it sounds like a lot of assumptions. Things have happened, and we force them to make sense by rationalizing. For example, what makes us think that they chose to cross the North Sea, instead of crossing the La Manche?

One thing when they did some cabotage sailing along the coast lines, and it is a totally different thing to sail out into the wild with no knowledge of what's out there. Do we assume they did not care about their lives and safety at all?

Besides, based on how their ships were made, I have a strong doubt they would not start falling apart after some semi-serious rattling.
  • They were all made from planks of timber, usually oak, overlapped and nailed together. The ships were made watertight by filling the spaces between the planks with wool, moss or animal hair, mixed with tar or tallow. The ships were all the same long narrow shape, with shallow draughts.
Sure they can make something like this viking ship today. They can even say that they used the "viking" way to build it. LOL.


The replica sure does look nice though..

viking ship.jpg

At the same time we have them viking tools on display + more. What exactly did they use to produce those planks to provide for the quality overlap?

Additionally we have this entire topic of the viking metallurgy, which is also a big wonder. They used nails to attach them planks together? They made iron tools? It's a long way from ore to iron. Barbarians doing these things is widely accepted by the narrative, but really?
In the above link, I absolutely love the important role the so-called meteorite iron played in the ancient metallurgy. Gifts just kept on coming, right? I posted an opinion on the meteorite stuff before.
What are the steps to make iron anyways? What is the knowledge required? Our common knowledge, augmented by TPTB pounding the narrative into our heads, screams that there was nothing special about making iron, and many other things.

I think we are missing the proverbial common denominator for all of this. Things happened, but the narrative explaining those things is a suspect.
 

jd755

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The biggest thing for me is there is nothing on those 'viking' ships (who invented that label I wonder, RCC perchance?) to protect any stores of food and fresh water they would need on any voyage short or long.
They are at best coastal vessels designed to slip along the coastline where food and fresh water could be obtained fairly easily. Travelling over a stretch of water once called the German sea now the North sea would be beyond them unless the wind was favourable and they knew where they were going. The closer they got to the channel the easier it was to see where they were going and less open water to cross.
All that said I've lived on this island all but 6 decades and have heard and tales of Vikings, Angles, Saxons, Romans, Celts, the Norsemen, Picts, Ancient Britons and all their 'historical characters' all my life but my eyes have yet to clap themselves onto any evidence any of them were actually here.
 

Jim Duyer

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The biggest thing for me is there is nothing on those 'viking' ships (who invented that label I wonder, RCC perchance?) to protect any stores of food and fresh water they would need on any voyage short or long.
They are at best coastal vessels designed to slip along the coastline where food and fresh water could be obtained fairly easily. Travelling over a stretch of water once called the German sea now the North sea would be beyond them unless the wind was favourable and they knew where they were going. The closer they got to the channel the easier it was to see where they were going and less open water to cross.
All that said I've lived on this island all but 6 decades and have heard and tales of Vikings, Angles, Saxons, Romans, Celts, the Norsemen, Picts, Ancient Britons and all their 'historical characters' all my life but my eyes have yet to clap themselves onto any evidence any of them were actually here.
They certainly make it seem as if everyone except the Slovakian Girl Scouts invaded Britain at one time or another, don't they?
 

Banta

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The biggest thing for me is there is nothing on those 'viking' ships (who invented that label I wonder, RCC perchance?) to protect any stores of food and fresh water they would need on any voyage short or long.
They are at best coastal vessels designed to slip along the coastline where food and fresh water could be obtained fairly easily.
Exactly. That's why I severely doubt that the replica really crossed the Atlantic. It would be a huge risk, even in the 20th century. And then it's used as a centerpiece of a show as soon as it arrives? That's enough red flags for me.

If there is anything to the actual Leif Erikson voyage, the ship had to have had a vastly different design. But his "discovery of the New World" is already a loose end that doesn't suit the narrative, so his ships better be worse than the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria!
 

Tazx55

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As a retired Canadian Navy member, I have seen a lot of rough seas in my time. But no where rougher than the North Atlantic. I have my doubts that those types of ships could have made it unless ABSOLUTELY perfect conditions for the entire trip. Which is unpredictable at the best of times. Technically and specifically designed boats have failed and unless your vessel is water tight and able to allow the water to 'flow over', not gonna happen.
 
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