This short video was taken by the Tribe Chiefain at the end of January this year at the Connecticut build site where Matt Barnes and Tucker Yaro of Leetes Island Boatworks are building our replica Gislinge - a late or post Viking-age boat. There has been a lot of activity since this video, including installation of the inwale on both port and starboard sides. The inwale was hewn from a beautiful and massive and beautiful white oak board nearly 30 feet in length. An inwale is a wood strip fastened inside the boat and extending along or under the top strake to reinforce the gunwale. Our inwale is fastened with "tree nails." More photos of the Sæ Ulfr's rise will be posted over the next few days and there will be a dump at the end of the week.
Odin’s Warrior Tribe commissioned and contracted with Leetes Island Boatworks over two years ago to build this amazing replica of the Gislinge Boat for use in our Tribe and charitable events for active and veteran military. But that was not the start of the story, which was over three years ago, when a Tribe member and combat veteran started to build a Viking style boat. We experimented with building our own boat and then made a big decision to shift to a professional approach. This has been a journey and the next chapter of sailing the Sæ Ulfr approaches.
The Gislinge Viking Boat is named after a 7.7-meter (26 feet) long late Viking-age boat discovered near Gislinge, Denmark in 1993 at a reclaimed fjord. The Roskilde Viking Ship Museum created plans from the boat's remains, which were dated to around 1130 CE, (so shortly after the Viking age, as some define it, but the maritime technology and designs were the same) and has built several and made the plans public.
Our Gislinge, is of white oak, and is being built almost exclusively using axes as were the original Viking ships. There are a few upgrades – for example she has copper rivets instead of iron because they will last longer and be less of a maintenance issue. The Sæ Ulfr's (Sea Wolf's) sail is a high-quality canvas sail handmade in Ireland for the History Channel's "Vikings" and used when filming Bjorn Ironside at sea. The sail will be cut down slightly for the Sæ Ulfr’s size.
There are not that many shipwrights in the US, skilled in the lapstrake or clinker wooden boat methods of construction. We were lucky to find ours who came recommended to us by no less than the world-famous Mystic Seaport Museum when we asked for their help. UNESCO has named the Nordic style of clinker construction a "world heritage." Shipwright Matt Barnes apprenticed at the Roskilde Viking Ship Museum in Denmark and has built a Gislinge before. Matt was also the lead shipwright on the restoration of the Mayflower II. His business partner Tucker Yaro is a prestigious sailor and yacht racer who has been the captain of the recreated Amistad schooner now at Mystic Seaport.
The Sæ Ulfr has drawn the attention of the premier "Wooden Boat Magazine,” and she has been highlighted several times in articles there, as well as several other local magazines, and the Leetes Island team showed under construction at Mystic on several occasions including at the annual “Wooden Boat Show" at Mystic Seaport in June 2022. There is an excellent article on our boat in the Heathen magazine Midgardian.
Odin’s Warrior Tribe has run two veterans Viking boat building events with Leetes Island at the build site that involved each time about 20 veterans of diverse backgrounds learning traditional boat building skills and Odin’s Warrior Tribe provided breakfast and lunch free of charge. These events were free for active and veteran military. One of them included a group discount visit to Mystic Seaport Museum which has been a great supporter. Another included a fanstastic lecture by Dr. William Short of Hurstwic on "Viking Combat" and his recent book "Men of Terror" written with Icelandic Hurstwic representative and coauthor Reynir Oskarson. That evening we all feasted at Nellie’s (a fantastic portside restaurant), toasting, and celebration into the early hours at a variety of destinations…
The goal is for the Sæ Ulfr to be home ported near the Chesapeake Bay starting in early April 2023. We will be sailing on those waters where we will use the Sae Ulfr for our Tribe and charitable military veteran activities. We are looking at a huge Sumbl (Viking-style feast with drinking) to celebrate her launching.
Over the last several years while our Viking boat has been being built, Odin’s Warrior Tribe has been fortunate to have fantastic shipwrights but also sailing advisors and mentors from “The Longship Co.” with whom we have sailed and learned a great many things. The Longship Co. has two replica Viking boats and four or more decades of experience. We anticipate there will be joint Viking boat sailings coming near the Chesapeake Bay.
The Sæ Ulfr is being built through the generosity of individual and corporate donations and sales of items in our nonprofit’s store.
"From a ship expect speed..."