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"I praise the man, my hero he,
Who in his good ship roves the sea..."

Einar Skalaglam,
in Heimskringla:
Saga of King Harald Gråfeld and of Earl Håkon Son of Sigurd

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The British Columbia Viking Ship Project

Welcome to the once-upon-a-time official site of the 40 foot Viking Ship "Munin", built by the British Columbia Viking Ship Project!

I say, once upon a time, because now "Munin" finally has it's own site as properly befits a proud Viking Ship.

That said, do stick around as this is where you'll still find the great picture gallery of the building of "Munin".

We launched the Viking Ship "Munin" on July 7, 2001 and are now sailing her in local waters around Vancouver, BC, Canada!

The official email contact address is: vikingship.ca@gmail.com




Breaking ground for the ship building site

Ground was broken for the 24'x64' boat shed in July of 2000. That kept us pretty busy for awhile.

BCVSP: Our Boat Shed





Rasing the keel

In September of 2000, we reached our first real milestone: The raising of the keel. We really felt we had something to be proud of.

BCVSP: Raising the Keel





"Munin" unveiled for the first time

This picture shows our Viking Ship at the Unveiling Ceremony when it was rolled out of the boat shed and unveiled during the Scandinavian Midsummer Fest on June 23, 2001 at the Scandinavian Center.

BCVSP: Viking Ship Munin unveiling ceremony





"Munin" with crew rowing

Here's a great shot of "Munin" at sea being rowed after the Launching Ceremony on July 7, 2001.

BCVSP: Viking Ship Munin Rowing





The launch of "Munin"

Here is a truly great picture from the launch of "Munin". Lots of people, lots of fun, a great ship and a happy crew!

BCVSP:  Launch of the Viking Ship Munin





This picture shows "Munin" sailing in a fresh wind outside of Vancouver, BC, Canada.

BCVSP: The Viking Ship Munin under sail


There are more pictures in the picture gallery

Check out our picture gallery with lots and lots of pictures and see for yourself why everyone was so excited.



Background

The Scandinavian Cultural Centre Society (SCCS) in Burnaby, BC, Canada has initiated a project to build a 40 foot (half-size) working replica of the famous Viking ship known as the Gokstad ship.

SCCS is housed in its own building in Burnaby outside of Vancouver on Canada's West Coast. SCCS has members from all the Scandinavian countries. Each country is organized into a House Society. Thus we have the Danish House Society, the Finnish House Society, the Norwegian House Society and the Swedish House Society. Iceland is an associate member.

The initiative to start the project came from members of the Norwegian House Society, but the project committee is represented across all four houses and this is now very much an initiative of the whole Scandinavian community although the project as such formally reports to the Norwegian House Society for a number of boring bureaucratic - yet necessary - reasons.

Project launch

The project was officially launched Saturday March 11 during the Norwegian House fund raising auction aptly named "Take a Liking to a Viking".

We have two professional boat builders on the team, so we are in good shape in that department. Our first priority was to find a location to build the ship, but that has now been resolved. We will be building right at the Scandinavian Centre. We have access to some free lumber for hull planking and will be working actively to obtain the rest. Fund raising will be another challenge as we are a non-profit organization entirely dependent upon volunteers and fund raising efforts by the members.

A formal project plan is in place so that we will have something solid to show prospective donors and volunteers alike. Besides, there are a simply a lot of details to keep track of and a plan is a must.

The Gokstad ship

The Gokstad ship is about 80 feet in length and several full-sized and scaled replicas have been built. The Gokstad ship was found in a burial mound in South-eastern Norway and was remarkably well preserved. It is on display in the Viking Ship museum in Oslo, Norway.

Building Viking ship replicas

Some of the replicas have been built as closely as possible (in this day and age) to the original ways. Even tools were recreated in some cases. Obviously, this must have been a wonderful experience for the builders. But it is clear that these projects took a long time to complete. Time was often a secondary consideration because the builders were typically enthusiasts motivated to try something different. Besides, they usually worked on extremely stretched budgets and making things themselves rather than buying made a lot of sense. In some cases, the work had a explicit scientific purpose to test our understanding of old construction methods and Viking ship design.

Capturing the spirit of the old ships

Many replicas have also been built using modern tools and equipments and sawn timber rather than hand split logs and so on. These projects approached the Viking ship building more as a community event. While perhaps not built in a historically "correct" manner, these replicas do capture the spirit of the old ships. They allow the users to experience something of what it was like to row and sail a Viking ship. That is in itself an important contribution.

Our approach

The British Columbia Viking Ship Project has decided to build our Viking ship as close to the original as possible in all significant details, but allowing some compromises. We will use modern tools and equipment for preparing, shaping and dressing the wood.

We will build a half-scale replica in order to make the ship more easily transportable as a 40 foot clinker built boat is comparatively light and can be trailered.

Our goal is to create a Living Ship that will be used and cared for by its builders and other enthusiastic members of the Scandinavian community.

Viking ship building as a community event

The building activities will form the centre piece and act as the unifying theme for the project. However, the fact is there is only a limited amount of room for helping hands during the actual construction. It is easy to over focus on this aspect of the project. For that reason, we have partitioned the project into several related and parallel sub-projects.

At present, we have identified the following project groups:

  • Hull construction
  • Sails, spars and rigging
  • Oars and shields
  • Carving (e.g., dragon head and tail piece)
  • Costumes (for crew and anyone else interested in dressing the part)
  • Fund raising and promotion (including cultural events)

Viking themed events will be put on to engage the community and as focal points for fund raising activities. While the work load will undoubtedly be a challenge, we aim to have fun doing it. Otherwise, why bother?

We have "declared victory"

The Viking Ship "Munin" was launched July 7, 2001 in Vanier Park close by the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The Viking Ship was then rowed to the Vancouver Maritime Museum where it was be moored over the summer.

We are ran a naming contest for our ship and the name was announced on the launch date.

We have been getting lots of publicity, with an article in the Province, a large BC newspaper. Global TV, a local broadcaster, has been showing TV-spots for the naming contest. Four TV crews were on site for the launch and we made the 6 o'clock news again.

The launch was be a big event with enthusiasts coming from as far away as Victoria, BC and Seattle, WA, USA!

Viking Ship enthusiasts needed!

Ah yes, there is room for more willing and able hands to have fun with the ship. Don't be shy, check it out and get involved by sending an email to munin_vancouver@hotmail.com.

Let's grow the community of Viking ship enthusiasts

Are you or someone you know involved in Viking related projects? Great! We are interested in keeping in touch with like minded groups in other parts of the world to exchange ideas, experiences and so on. Pass the word and a link to this page. Send us an email to let us know what you are doing. If you link to this site, thank you in advance. Make sure to let us know so we can put up a back-link.



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