Leif Ericson Viking Ship Norseman

Fall 1998

Vol. 6 No. 3


Together with nine other Viking ships and their crews, NORSEMAN invaded Stockholm, Sweden on August 1st, l998. A total of 22 members of LEVS, Inc. (14 Crew and eight accompanying wives and other relatives) took part in the invasion, a sailing event in Stockholm=s Kultur98 year-long cultural festival.

The Vikings brought glorious weather to Stockholm for a few days after a cold and rainy summer season. After a day of preparations, and participation in an afternoon of photo and video sessions outside the harbor on July 31, the Viking ships sailed as a group to Galarvarvet, where we were all to land at a temporary marina set up for us just in front of the VASA Museum. As the ships under sail rounded a point and came into view, we were announced over a PA system. A big round of applause greeted NORSEMAN as the announcer told the gathered crowds about us. Our US flag snapped proudly in the breeze, and all hands felt a lump in their throats as we received this warm greeting.

The next two days were occupied in talking to visitors at the wharf, alternating with sailing in the harbor, along the Strand, and near the old town. On August 3, we sailed through the lock (Slussen) into Lake Malaren in the company of two other Viking ships, and tied up for a time at the barge landing in front of Stockholm=s Town Hall. We were warmly greeted everywhere, and all Vikings were hosted at several receptions including a tour of the Maritime Museum and the Museum of Antiquities. It was then time to pack up and reload NORSEMAN for the long journey back to Philadelphia.

While those in our party paid their own personal trip expenses, special thanks go to Wallenius Shipping Lines for transport of NORSEMAN to Sweden and back, to Kultur98 and City Hotels, Inc., Stockholm, for special reduced hotel rates, and to SAS for reduced group air fares and tickets for the fund-raising raffle. (Tickets are still available until Oct. 10 to win two round-trip tickets to Scandinavia, $5.00 each or 6 for $25.00. Send checks to LEVS, 15 West Highland Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118). Thanks also to all those who purchased raffle tickets or made donations to help defray special trip costs for NORSEMAN.

For further information about the trip, photographs, and a series of AReports from Stockholm@ describing our day-to-day activities, log on to our web site at


With only two years remaining before the Millennium Celebration of Leif Ericson=s landing on North America, expanded Leif Ericson day events have been announced by the Leif Ericson Millennium Committee. At noon on Friday, October 9, the ceremony to honor the first European explorers and settlers in North America will be held. The usual location at the statue of Viking Thorfinn Karlsefni on Kelly Drive at the head of boat house row on the Schuylkill is to be the site of the ceremony.

The host country for l998 is Norway, and the special honored guest will be the Norwegian Ambassador to the US, His Excellency Tom Vraalsen. Other invited guests will include Mayor Ed Rendell of Philadelphia, US Congressman Martin Olav Sabo (MN.), Norway=s Consul General Jan Flatla, Kvaerner Shipyard Co. President Harald Rafdahl, Sons of Norway International President Dennis Sorheim, Consuls for other Scandinavian Countries, and others. Members of the Viking Age Clubs of Chicago and Minneapolis are also expected.

NORSEMAN, newly returned from Sweden and Stockholm=s "Viking Invasion", will make its usual Leif Ericson Day appearance sailing to the Ceremony on the Schuylkill, and members of the crew will serve as Honor Guard for the ceremony.

The annual Leif Ericson Day Dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. on the same day at the Harbor League Club, Camden. Featured speaker will be Mr. Ragnar Thorseth, a world-renowned modern Viking, who will relate a Viking Venture. This will be followed by other speeches of guests, raffles of various Viking artifacts, and music. Dinner sponsors to date include Norwegian Cruise Line, SAS, Icelandair, Kvaerner Shipyard, and the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel. See the accompanying coupon for further details and a reservation coupon. Seating is limited and early reservations are suggested.


The prolonged absence of NORSEMAN in transit to and from Stockholm afforded our crew an opportunity to make good progress on our Viking Boat Shed at our home base, The Kalmar Nyckel Shipyard in Wilmington, DE. Under the able leadership of Skipper Dave Segermark, many crew members turned out regularly at work sessions to complete the roof framing, battens, and to begin applying the cedar roof shingles. Aside from some of the planned decorative elements, the shed should be substantially completed about the time of NORSEMAN=s return in Mid-September.

Shed completion will help prolong the life of NORSEMAN and our gear by sheltering the ship from the elements and providing better storage for much of our equipment. Many thanks go out to members Nord and Drew Bjorke, Marty Martinson, Eric Shallcross, Bill Nyborg, Harold Sundby, Steve Clarke, Mark and Kris Lundgren, Jerry Zinnes, Harold Graden, and many others. Thanks also to those who made special donations large and small to help us build this shed, and to the Kalmar Nyckel organization for their cooperation in providing a location at the Shipyard for the NORSEMAN and boat shed.



Three recent children's books have come to the attention of the Editor and have been added to books available for sale through LEVS NORSEMAN, Inc. We seek to make books available to our readers which present Viking Culture in an accurate, interesting, and balanced way to help young people understand the life and times of Leif Ericson and his contemporaries. These three books meet these criteria, each with its own approach.

The Vikings, Children's Press, Grolier, New York, 1995 is a large-print, compact book intended for primary readers. One of the "Footsteps in Time" series on various peoples, this book emphasizes learning activities, crafts, and history. Young readers (with a little help) can make a brooch, a Viking doll, a Viking house, a Dragonship figurehead, weapons (safe play versions), Thor's hammer, or a rune plaque. Photos and step-by-step directions help, and several rainy days can be filled busying your restless youngsters with some of these projects.

Who Were the Vikings?, an Usborne History by Jane Chisholm and Struan Reid, EDC Publishing, 1995, uses a question and answer format (accompanied by excellent illustrations by David Cuzick) to interest young readers. It is suitable for somewhat older youngsters, perhaps in the nine to fourteen year age group. Sample selections include "What did a Viking Family Look Like?, Did the Vikings Believe in God?, What Did Vikings Do for Fun?, and How Far Did Viking Settlers Go?". Each section includes several more questions with answers in the subject area. Readable and very well organized, this book will assist your 5th or 6th grader with his school project on the Vikings, or on the Medieval Period.

How Would You Survive as a Viking?, Watts Division of Grolier, NY, 1995, is also a part of a series in which the format puts the reader in the shoes of Vikings. Unique features include a "Time Spiral" which puts the Viking Age into historical context, and a map of the Viking World. Organized into sixteen chapters on various aspects of Viking life (family, food, clothing, farming, merchants, farm life, ships, etc.) the book concludes with a short quiz on Viking Life to measure whether or not the reader would have the knowledge to survive. Each page has numerous well-executed illustrations, accurately picturing the subjects being discussed. This book is well-suited as a first comprehensive reference on the Viking Age, tuned to the Junior High or Middle School youngster and better than many books we have seen written for us grown-ups.

See the Order Form in this issue for prices and ordering information.

News Flash! As we go to press, Hodding Carter, III and crew have successfully completed in SNORRI the re-creation of Leif Ericson's Voyage from Greenland to L'Anse Aux Meadows. Well Done!



Because NORSEMAN was out of the country throughout all of July and August for the Stockholm trip, several appearances at usual events or festivals were not possible. Memorial day weekend did see a trip to Haverstraw, New York to sail in the Hudson River Festival sponsored by the National Maritime Historical Association (see article, this edition).

NORSEMAN also appeared at the annual Scandinavian Festival in Randolph, N.J. on June 20th, where the ship was on display. On September 6, NORSEMAN was represented (without the ship) at the big Festival in Waterloo. N.J. with a booth for information and sales of merchandise, books, and raffle tickets. The booth was staffed by Harold Sundby, Scott Sundby, and LaVonne and Dennis Johnson. Sales were brisk and a beautiful day brought a large number of visitors.

NORSEMAN will make its usual appearance at the Leif Ericson Day ceremonies in Philadelphia on Oct. 9 (see separate article) and on Oct. 10 will appear at the Leif Ericson Day Parade and Festival in Budd Lake, New Jersey.


On July 22, l998, Leif Ericson Viking Ship, Inc. received formal letter notification from the Internal Revenue Service that our application for exemption from Federal Income Taxes as a 501(c)3 organization had been approved. This means among other things that all grants and contributions to Leif Ericson Viking Ship NORSEMAN will be tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. (For detailed regulations related to tax-deductibility, consult your accountant or tax attorney.) Copies of this IRS determination letter are available upon request.

We are most grateful to Member Jim Thornton and to Treasurer Ulf Hammarskjold for their valuable assistance in preparing the application forms and assembling all the required financial information to accompany the application. This new status is derived principally as a result of our stated mission as an educational organization, formed and existing primarily to foster knowledge about the Viking presence in North America about one thousand years ago.

FUTURE PLANS, 1999 and 2000

A decision has been made by the NORSEMAN Board of Directors to begin planning to take part in year 2000 events by traveling to L'Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland for a planned Viking encampment. This will also involve joining with other Viking ships from Iceland and Europe in a sail down the east coast of North America "in search of Vinland", culminating in a return to Philadelphia for Millennium events planned here. Dave Segermark, Marty Martinson, and others have formed a Committee to undertake preliminary planning for our participation in this Millennium event.

Less certain, but also under consideration is a Midwestern or Great Lakes tour by NORSEMAN in the summer of l999, to help build interest in Leif Ericson and the Millennium year. To be financed by appearance fees and merchandise sales, this tour would involve taking part in as many Festivals and other appropriate events as can be scheduled in the months of July and August 1999, in one combined tour of the heartland, well populated by the descendants of Vikings.

All readers and organizations planning special events or Scandinavian Festivals during the summer of l999, are invited to contact us for further information. If you are interested in having the Leif Ericson Viking Ship NORSEMAN attend your festival or make an appearance in your city, write or e-mail to Dennis L. Johnson, President, Leif Ericson Viking Ship, at the mail or e-mail address given in the header of this newsletter.


  · Now you can have your own personal carved Runestone, either sent from Scandinavia or Carver Kalle Dahlberg will come to your location and put an inscription on your own stone. Stones cost about Six Thousand Dollars (not including shipping, they weigh about 1800 pounds (800kg). For more information, see

· Stockholm visitors can now sail with the Vikings on the SVEA VIKING in historic waters. Billed as the world=s largest Viking ship, this replica was made from a World War II minesweeper and has a restaurant serving authentic Viking foods while you take an archipelago cruise or a cruise to Birka, the historic Viking trading town on lake Malaren. For bookings or further information contact

· It is not too late to add your letter of support to try and have a Leif Ericson Millennium Stamp printed for the year 2000. Send your letter to the Stamp Advisory Committee, US Postal Service, 475 L=Enfant Plaza SW, Room 4474EB, Washington D.C., 20260-6756. A sample letter is available on the Millennium web site,

· Trondheim, Norway has plans to celebrate the Leif Ericson Millennium in the year 2000, including the unveiling of additional names of emigrants on their statue of Leif Ericson given to that city by the Leif Ericson Society of Seattle, WA in l997. To have the name of your ancestor inscribed, you can make a tax-deductible donation of $140.00 US to the Leif Ericson International Foundation. For further information call 206 783 8462.

· The world=s largest Viking ship replica is now nearing completion in Sweden. Named SKIDBLADNER, this ship will be 24.3 meters (about 80 ft.) Long. According to news articles, plans are being made to sail the Baltic in the summer of l999, and to bring the ship to North America in 2000. Stay tuned for more information.


A visit to Haverstraw, New York


One of the highlights of the 1998 sailing season was the visit over the Memorial Day weekend by NORSEMAN and crew to Haverstraw, NY. Haverstraw is a historic river town located at the widest point of the Hudson River, a point where the river is l9,000 feet (over 3 miles) across. Skipper Nord Bjorke led the crew including Steve Clarke, Drew Bjorke, Eric Shallcross and Hal Sundby on this noteworthy trip.

The day started at 5:00 a.m. when NORSEMAN was picked up at the Kalmar Nyckel yard in Wilmington. The four hour plus drive was uneventful except that we were tossed off the Palisades Parkway in New Jersey. The resulting ride through the picturesque Hudson River Valley countryside delayed our arrival by about one hour. However, we arrived safely and spent the afternoon showing NORSEMAN to the people celebrating the 200th anniversary of Rockland County.

That evening we attended a buffet supper in downtown Haverstraw sponsored by a Puerto Rican organization, and later a VIP reception sponsored by the Rockland County Association. That night we stayed with the Reinertsen family who generously provided us with food and lodging.

The next morning, as gentle drops of rain splashed on our helmets, we boarded NORSEMAN for the parade of ships. Unfortunately, the gentle splashing became major downpours with thunder, lightning, and fairly substantial winds. At one point in mid-river, both banks had disappeared in clouds of fog and haze. About the time we were thinking of seeking shelter a Coast Guard boat appeared and the Captain told us we should head back to port. We five very soggy Vikings did not need a second opinion.

Despite the rain, the trip was considered a great success. We made new friends for NORSEMAN and the rainy day sailing experience was a good reminder of how vulnerable our ancestors were to storms when they crossed the Atlantic in open Viking ships.

- Harold Sundby, crew member and Secretary


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Spring '98 Newsletter