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Draken Harald Harfagre - The World's Largest Viking Ship

Party Night At Tall Ship Celebration 2016

July 15, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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Friday was "party night" at the Tall Ship Celebration. Various businesses that sponsored ships set up tents, brought in bands, and provided gourmet food for invited guests. A party atmosphere on both sides of the river from the new Uptown development to the historic Downtown. Boats were open to the public and crew members were on hand to talk about the ships and the experience of sailing them.

The Draken Harald Harfagre was one of the most popular attractions. Although not the largest ship in port, it IS the world's largest Viking "Great Ship". Built in 2010 by experienced boat builders, historians, craftsmen and artists, the 115 foot ship was soon sailing the oceans.

Starting in late April, the boat followed the historic route across the North Atlantic from its home port of Haugesund, Norway. With stops in Iceland, Greenland, and other ports, the brave "Sons of Norway" landed at L'Anse aux Meadows, NL, Canada in early June. From there they followed the shipping routes through the Great Lakes, arriving in Bay City on July 14,

The captain was overheard talking to one of the visitors who asked how it was crossing the Atlantic. The answer was something like "often cold and wet with waves breaking over the sides of the ship".

Sister ships Playfair and Pathfinder are operated by the sail training company Toronto Brigantine Inc. Crew members Cameron Morton (19) and Misha Krysti (16) talked about their five summers on board these training ships. "We take kids 12 to 18 years old for 7 to 14 day training cruises and teach them to operate the ship." Cameron is now in college and studying maritime navigation as a result of his years on the ships.

The ships each have a dozen sailors on the staff. They train as many as 18 young people each session. "We can hold a maximum of 30 people", said Misha. When asked about where everyone sleeps, the answer was "everywhere". Below decks there are bunks from one end of the vessel to the other. "Some people don't like the motion of the waves", said Cameron, "but I don't mind. It's like being rocked in a cradle".

Friday was a somewhat gray and overcast day, but it was cool and dry. Except for the subdued light, it was a great day to visit the ships. The weather reports anticipate sun on Saturday. Everyone would like to see that.

The Spanish El Galeon Audalucia proved to be a truly tall ship. At 170 feet and some 490 tons, the ship is a replica of the great galleons that once sailed the West Indies and other oceans of the world in the 16th through 18th centuries.
Visitors on the El Galeon Audalucia provide some scale to the size and height of the ship.

Visitors at the stern of the El Galeon Audalucia provide additional scale for the ship.

Sister ships, the Schooners Appledore V and Appledore IV both took public excursion trips during the Celebration. The Five is turning in to let passengers disembark while the Four heads under the Veteran's drawbridge.

The Pride of Baltimore moved to the new Uptown at Rivers Edge development
for a reception held after hours.

Guests of the many business receptions gathered for food, drink and fellowship.

Even if the Draken Harald Harfagre is the world's largest Viking ship,
crossing the Atlantic had to be quite an adventure!

"Pirate" Billie Beach took time to pose with a visitor. "My brother and I have been reenacting for 30 years. We'll be cowboys at one event, pirates at another, and explorers somewhere else". Billie went on to say, "There are lots of people playing pirates at these events. Most dress like they're in the movies. My brother and I try to have authentic attire." Besides doing events like the Tall Ships, Billie had a part in the third "Pirates of The Caribbean" movie.

Billie broke character a bit with his modern digital camera. But he hides it away for the most part. Grinning he said "I was a cowboy not long ago and had my phone tucked inside here and my camera over here. Didn't let anyone see them."

A smaller Viking boat was displayed on shore.

Teaching about ships and sailing is a large part of the Tall Ship Celebration.
Adults like to know, but kids are totally amazed.

Excursions on the Princess Wenonah give visitors the water side look at the Tall Ships.

Pathfinder crew members Cameron Morton and Misha Krystie talk to visitors about the ship and its programs.

Unlike the 1800's, today "when the wind don't blow, there's help down below".

Some things hardly ever change.

Party Time

Kyle Kernstock cooks up fresh pulled pork

5087, 7775, 7776

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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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