is as symbolic of the Vikings as the longship or drakkar.
The drakkar was a warship designed to carry fearless
Viking warriors on their raids across Europe over a
millennium ago. Drakkar was the best built in the
Viking fleet and appeared only in the biggest wars. It
was constructed using the clinker design. This means it
was planked using oak boards which overlapped slightly
and then nailed together with iron nails. Drakkar could
easily deliver four hundred warriors to a battlefield.
Drakkar could navigate in water a meter deep. In shallow
water, the warriors would move to one side of the ship
to tilt it so it would pass over rocks and shoals. The
tapered bows and sterns enabled the Vikings to row the
ships forwards and backwards without first having to
turn the ships around.
Drakkar was very sturdy, and yet flexible enough to
withstand the waves of stormy seas and light enough to
be dragged overland between two lakes or rivers. It can
move at a very swift twelve knots. If the winds were
calm, oarsmen could move the ships briskly through the
water at about five knots--the same speed as a quick
The deck of a longship was completely planked over.
There were no sleeping quarters below deck. Crewmen and
warriors stored their personal belongings in chests on
the deck. The oarsmen sat on these chests when rowing.
At night, the sail was removed from the mast. In bad
weather, it often served as a tent. The Vikings,
inventors of the sleeping bag, would sleep under the
With their snarling prowed ships and hundreds of sword
wielding warriors, the Vikings created a sight that
brought terror into the hearts of people across Europe,
North Africa and western Asia.