The mast has been raised on the Ladby Dragon

26. September 2017 | The Viking Museum at Ladby

Now the reconstructed Ladby Ship has been fitted out with mast and rigging.

The Ladby Dragon is a reconstruction of the Ladby Ship, which is a ship from the Viking period that was buried along with a Viking king in the 900’s. In 2016, the reconstruction of the Ladby Ship was finished and the new ship was dubbed “Ladby Dragon”. Until now, though, the ship has neither had mast or rig, and has only sailed with the help of rowers. But on Thursday, August 31, the mast was raised on the Ladby Dragon.

Vibeke Bischoff is a ship reconstructor from the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, and has played a major role in the reconstruction of the Ladby Ship. She is the person who took new measurements of the Ladby Ship grave, and did technical drawings for the reconstruction. She was here for the raising of the mast, and said, “I’m relieved over how easily it went.”

“Now the mast is in place and we’re looking forward to starting the work that the Vikings and their ships were especially known for - namely, their trail-blazing sailing ablilites,” said the department head at the Viking Museum at Ladby, Claus Frederik Sørensen.

The day began with readying and mounting the stays and the shrouds - in other words, the ropes that will stablize the mast. The mast, which is made of an 11 metre (36’) long, solid Norwegian spruce trunk, treated with tar and linseed oil, was raised through a joint effort by the volunteers in the ship guild under skilled instructions from Vibeke Bischoff and Carsten Hvid from the Viking Ship Museum at Roskilde. First, the mast was laid in the ship, then the top was lifted up in a mast gallow near the stern stem. With the help of two oars, a sheers was made into a block and tackle, so the team could raise the mast up to a vertical position, while they maneuvered the bottom of the mast into the mast fish, and finally into the keelson.

Carsten Hvid, who is a skipper and ropemaker at the Viking Ship Museum i Roskilde, was a consultent during the ship-rigging process, along with Vibeke Bischoff. He explained that putting up and taking down the mast was part of the daily routine on Viking ships. From now on, raising the mast will be part of the program when members of the ship guild meet for training days.

Photos: Emil Andresen

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