Over two years ago, Odin’s Warrior Tribe commissioned and contracted with Leetes Island Boatworks of Connecticut to build by traditional methods our 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 Iraq and Afghan conflict Army combat veteran with some combat related disability 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. Work continues but launching is getting closer. This has been a journey and the next chapter of sailing the Sæ Ulfr near and in the Chesapeake approaches this Spring of 2023.
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 in Denmark 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 lead shipwright trained at Roskilde.
Our Gislinge, is hewn from 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.
Since the beginning of the project, we have received support from our members, many individuals, and a few special foundation donors, as well as sales from our online store whose profits support our charitable activities. Our leadership has given generously. We wish to especially acknowledge the generous and ongoing support of the Pritzker Military Foundation of Chicago (PMF), on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML), an outstanding educational institution based in Chicago. The PMF is the giving arm of the PMML, and in line with their mission of supporting the military, the PMML offers programs for everyone to explore our military history, military affairs, and national security matters. We are honored to partner with this like-minded institution. Through our programs we offer athletic, adventurous, skill, and outdoor activities that “provide services and essential resources to active-duty military, veterans and families of service members in all branches of the United States Armed Forces.” The Pritzker Military Foundation has not only helped us build our Viking Boat - but they also sponsored two Viking age boatbuilding workshops at the build site where almost 50 active and veteran military bonded and learned ancient and traditional boatbuilding skills.