A Viking ship on Sydney Harbour – setting sail

The Jorgen Jorgenson is ready!

The Jorgen Jorgenson is ready!

After several weeks of hard work by the museum’s Fleet staff and volunteers and the Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club, the reconstruction of the Gokstad vessel Jorgen Jorgenson is finally ready to go a viking!

The final – and somewhat important – touch has been the construction of a steering board. This huge timber sits on the outside of the vessel on what became known as the steer board – later called starboard – side. The opposite side of the vessel became known as the port side as this side was docked at wharves to avoid damaging the steer board or stýri in Old Norse.

The steering board under construction

The steering board under construction

The stýrismaðr or steersman took the hjölm or helm. The stýri is connected to the hjölm by a rod that runs through a supporting conical piece of carved timber that was carefully constructed to withstand signficant stress.

The steer board cone on the Arby rowing boat from the Swedish History Museum

The carved steering board cone on the Krampmacken boat from the Swedish History Museum, on display in the exhibition

Over the last week, sea trials – or testing of the vessel on the water – have ironed out a few issues. Thirty two oars can indeed be rowed in reasonable unison by a scratch crew!

Museum staff and volunteers are ordered to row by some hirsuite Vikings

Museum staff and volunteers are ordered to row by some hirsuite Vikings

On the deck of the Jorgen Jorgenson preparing to row

On the deck of the Jorgen Jorgenson preparing to row

We have found the vessel to move well through calm water – but it is difficult to row with any wind about. Still, even a motley crew of Vikings can make a fist of rowing..

Forty odd Vikings aboard the Jorgen Jorgenson

Forty odd Vikings aboard the Jorgen Jorgenson

rehearsal4

All the elements are now in place for the opening of the Vikings – Beyond the legend exhibition on 19 September – even Viking music and flaming brands!

Testing the flaming brands for the opening night

Testing the flaming brands for the opening night

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