Viking Navy Expeditionary Force to Vinland

This page of the Viking Navy was inspired by Reet Mae a Windsurfing instructor and Viking from Toronto Canada.

The trip

Sail from the center of the Baltic to the center of Vinland.
Starting at Saint Petersberg Russia then Finland, Estonia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, England, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, thru Hudson bay Canada, south along the Red river ending in Kennsington Rune stone park Minnesota USA

Putting the boat together

Note the eleven man crew. The Oseberg was said to have gold trim on the stem and stern.

Five boats ready to sail.

My goal is to design a sailing system that would give the Viking sailors the most protection from the sea while sailing. With these small light boats turned up side down and lashed on deck, we have a very sound, strong and light weight roof for the Viking sailors.

We need 60 oars per boat.
30 to row with and
30 to hold up the deck roof and provide the leading edge for the storm fins.

Two sets of oar harnesses. One for each set of rowing oars

Whith this oar harness a rower can leave his oar without his oar banging into any other oar. This harness also allows a very strong rower to pull his oar as hard as he can and not bump into the person next to him. This harness also allows the use of raw rowers that do not yet know how to feaqther their oar on the back sweep. The harness keep all the oars on one side working as one oar.

Each shield braces one oar.

My goal is to design oars strong yet flexible like a hunters bow.
I have made four oars so far. One cracked. On dry land not in the water. I asked an oar maker to make me a Viking oar. (I sent him a picture) he had about ten questions that I couldn't answer.
The oars are under great pressure while under sail so you can't hold one in your lap.
I had one of my oars with me on a 30 foot sail boat. When I tested my ideas of oars-as-out-riggers, my oar flexed with the surface of the water. I could push down as hard as I wanted and not push the blade under water.

My design of oar sails.

Once I had the oars braced out in the outrigger position, it was a natural to add flat sails to the oars for a little lift while comming down a swell. The way to think of these oar sails is that they look like the webbing between the front and back legs of a flying squirrel.

These oar sails would act like the wings on a modern hang glider. Either sailing down the face of a swell or down the slope of a mountain pass the oar sails allow the Viking sailing ship to become airborne at about 45 knots. It would be a ride worthy of the name Vikings.

Unfortunately, the sail and ropes from Oseberg and Gokstad were not conserved. They did not have the technology for this 100 years ago. We will have to wait (hope) for a new excavation.

It is important to note that the oars are not set to act like hydrofoils. I tried that design on my test boat and didn't like the results. The oars are braced in such a way that they do not even touch the water untill the ship is moving at about 5 knotes. That way the pressure of the water makes the oars skim along the top of the water about like a water ski. Actually a trick water ski would be a better example. It is a little wider and has a lot less drag because it is flat.

Storm fins and deck roof

The goal of these storm sails is to give the Viking ship some sailing power even when the sea is at its worst. With the mast down and these storm sails set, the Viking ship can roll over and still right itself and continue sailing.
The oars that make the support for these sails themselves rest on the upside down ships boats lashed to the deck of the mother ship. This system makes the deck roof and storm sails very strong. With the deck roof lashed securely to the oar sails, the Viking ship can roll over and not get water inside the boat. It would float high and dry upside down. Then the oar sails would catch the wind and right the boat.

The black marks show where the oars are placed under the roof to act as rafters for the deck roof.

The picture show the deck roof open

My design has a full boat roof strong enough to take the full effect of the sea. The sides of the boat roof are tied to the second hole in the oar blade. One practical benefit of this design is that it gives the sailors a fine place to store gear. That is above the oar sails and below the boat roof outside the hull. There it can rest on the oars and be lashed to the shield rail. This space provides a great deal of protection from the elements. Under the deck roof are the ship boats. These boats act like the roof support for the canvas boat roof.

Two square sails mounted like an A-frame house.

Imagine a stunt kite shaped like a square. About a meter square. Imagine 128 of these squares attached by just there corners. Each with the front corner of the kite pointing forward. Now attach this square of 128 stunt kites to the boom at top of the mast. Then attach the bottom of this square of 128 stunt kites to each of the oars that they line up with. At the point on the oar just into the blade where there is a hole on the oars from the Oseberg. Now do the same thing on the other side. You now have 256 stunt kites all pointing straight toward the front of the ship. Thus their orentation to the wind is determined only by the orentation of the ship to the wind. It makes for a very quick boat. Will it work? If stunt kites can move fast in the sky this sail design will work. It looks great too. With the red and white squares.

Dragon head and tail.

Note the Viking sitting on the dragons head. In bad weather the dragon head and tail were removed. The dragon head had a hole thru it so that smoke could be made to come out of the mouth and nose. Fish oil could be shot flaming out of the dragon mouth to give a nice, fire breathing dragon, effect.

Under way

Rooster Tails

I painted this oil in 1996. It shows a cut away of a Viking ship.

What you see here is the oars locked into the correct position so the blade of the oar skims along the surface of the water giving lift. You see that the oars also make great rooster tails. Just like a water skier.

Notice that the ship lifts out of the water. Modern ships heel under the force of the wind, but with the oars resisting the heeling action the boat lifts instead. This lowers the drag on the boat as a whole.

Pete's Sunset

this is a cut away of the area above and below the oar sails under way.

Pete's Dream

I painted this oil in 1993. This painting shows a very good use for the space over the oar sails. A fine place to sleep. I was standing with my back to the mast while painting. Notice also that the oar sails are lashed under the oars, around a rope that runs the full length of the ship along the oar holes on the outside of the ship and end up being lashed to the braces on the sides. The tarp you see half covering the ax handle is the edge of the oar sails.

What you see here is the oars locked into the correct position so the blade of the oar skims along the surface of the water giving lift.

Self righting Viking ship

The wind pressure on the oar sails push the inverted ship back upright. The super strong roof and kayak like sea worthyness cause the craft to take on very little water in a knock down.

Viking navigation
This shield is very special. I designed it to be able to find longitude. To build such a shield takes four years. Each night for four years at midnight, the builder makes a small hole out near the rim of the shield. The builder decides where each hole is drilled each night by lining up the big dipper and then lining up the exact center of the shield with a plumb bob exactly at midnight.

Viking Watch

The Viking on watch would hold the three necklaces is his left hand and pump the pendulum with his right hand. The second marking necklace would be pulled thru his hand one knot at a time each time he pumped the pendulum. Each time the second marking necklace reached the top of the minute marker the Viking on watch would advance the minute marker necklace one minute marker. Each time the minute marking necklace reached the top of the hour marker the Viking on watch would advance the hour marker necklace one hour marker.
The Viking would thus be able to see how far they were away from where they started by observing how much time there was between local noon and the Viking watch noon. This watch allows the Vikings a way to know where they are without being able to count or add. Keeping track down to the second would allow them to know where they were to within three miles all over the earth.
My hope is that archaeological evidence will support my Viking watch now that we have some idea what we are looking for... A stick of wood 14 inches long with a hole one inch from the end, and three necklaces with beads or knots. Two of the necklaces will have 60 beads and the other necklace will have 24 beads.

A half round woven basket with 36 ?? which stand for the 360 days of the year.
sonar radar
Two stones that hang under water on a rope and click up and down due to the natural motion of the ship. Then a blind echo locator who listens to the echo of the rockes clicking together to see where the botom is and if there are any ice burgs in the way.

Make up of Oseberg size ship crew

Five people with execelent echo location skill. (Blind strong ok.)
Five people with Viking Navy watch usage skills. (Young strong girls are fine.)
Five people with sailing skills. (The younger the stronger the better.)
Five people with fishing, cooking, mending, axe work, repair skills. (The younger the smarter the better.)
Two people with five dog teams (The younger the smarter the better.)

Note that strong is always necessary in a Viking crew person because when rowing or raising sails, the whole crew needs to pull there weight.
Each crew is expected to arrive with:
the special tools of their craft and
their own kayak capable of giving them a place to sleep and a life boat if needed.
a shield with removable boss
an axe
eight sail diamonds
four 10 foot fishing poles
one 17 foot fishing pole
one harpon
testing the details

Sails at half mast... While I was taking this picture she sailed away by herself. It made me very happy. A good sail boat should sail all by herself.