The Drakkar, or Viking Longships, were the long, narrow and very flexible vessels used by the Vikings for trade, exploration, and warfare. The Longships had symmetrical ends and a maximal speed of around 15 knots, and they were also called "dragonships" because they often had a dragon-shaped bow or other magical beings carved on it. The Longships had been the symbol of the Vikings' naval power for a long time, ranging in the North and Baltic Sea and even far from their Scandinavian homelands: to Iceland, Greenland, Northern America and the Mediterranean!
The following two videos show some glances from the construction of such a ship, the Dragon Harald Fairhair (Draken Harald Hårfagre in Norwegian language), the largest Viking ship built in modern times, which is coming together in Haugesund, in Western Norway by using the best of the old Norwegian clinker-building tradition combined with the knowledge obtained from archaeological materials, as well as Norse literature and other historical and archaeological sources.
The ship, which is named after Harald Fairhair, the king who unified Norway into one kingdom. brings the seafaring qualities of a warship from the old Norse sagas to life while combining ocean-crossing sailing capabilities with a warship's use of oars. Construction began in March 2010 and the ship was launched in June 2012. With a length of 35 metres, 7,5 metres on the beam, displacing seventy tons, and with 300 square metres sail of pure silk, the Dragon Harald Fairhair is sailed by a crew of 29. The ship can also be rowed, and has 25 pairs of oars. With two people on each oar this gives a rowing crew of 100.
Sailing the Dragon... a videoclip from the summer 2013, when Dragon Harald Fairhair was training along the Norwegian coastline outside Vestlandet, handling really well sailing in speeds over 11 knots, even though it took a lot of people to handle the 300 square meter sail. In summer 2014 the Draken is crossing the North Sea to Scotland.
Below another interesting video about the construction of a a Viking Longship brought on in the U.S.A. by W.I.L.D. Expeditions, a non-profit organization devoted to programs for youth, and builder Jay Smith, a master shipwright, who visited Norway while in college and fell so much in love with Norwegian hand built wooden boats, that he decided to spend there several years studying Nordic boat building under a Scandinavian masters. Jay Smith has gathered over 70 crooks from oak trees in Oregon for the ship's frames. The ship is being built in the traditional way Viking ships were built 1000 years ago with oak frames, clinker style planking with hand fastened rivets and lots of pine tar. Jay has also provided some of the purest and most beautiful cedar, the yellow cedar from British Columbia in Canada, for planking.