Leif Ericson Viking Ship Norseman

Fall 1999 Vol. 7 No. 3


At the August Board Meeting, the Directors of the organization voted to plan to take part in the big sailing event next year to celebrate the one thousand-year anniversary of Leif Ericson’s landing on the North American continent. More than fifteen Viking Ship replicas from Europe and the US will sail from the Viking site at L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland down the east coast of North America "In search of Vinland." The fleet will stop at all major coastal cities along the way to focus attention on the Millennium and join in local celebrations in honor of Leif Ericson’s voyage.

The Viking ships will arrive in Philadelphia in time to be present for a big Leif Ericson weekend and the Ceremony on October 9 marking the 1000th anniversary of the Viking discovery of North America. For more information, a listing of ships expected to take part, and a detailed itinerary of this sailing event, see the Millennium Committee web site, (

NORSEMAN has begun preparations for this trip, with two Board members and skippers, Marty Martinson and Nord Bjorke, having completed in August a reconnaissance by auto of the route of the sail. We are laying plans to make special improvements to NORSEMAN to enhance safety and seaworthiness for such a trip. Special crew training sessions are already under way to gain skills and experience for those likely to sail on this rigorous voyage.

We have launched a special fund-raising campaign to raise funds for the trip, including improvements to NORSEMAN, upgrading of the trailer and tow vehicle, and special crew expenses. We also expect assistance from the sponsors of the voyage, the Leif Ericson Millennium committee and, in Canada, the Viking Trails Tourism Association. NORSEMAN is also seeking a Corporate Sponsor to help meet expenses. If you can help in any way, please contact Dennis L. Johnson, President, or Dave Segermark, vice-president.


Enclosed with this newsletter is a book of Raffle tickets with chances to win a Caribbean Cruise for two, one week, courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines. The drawing will be held on December 31, 1999, the last day of the 1900's. If you feel Y2K luck coming on, you may be the winner! Send your check and completed stubs to: Capt. Paul Govertsen, 10 Kenwick Road, Hockessin, DE 19707. More tickets are available from the same address, you can also help by selling tickets to your friends.


NORSEMAN will help kick off the Leif Ericson Millennium year beginning October 9, l999 and extending through October 9, 2000. In our eighth annual appearance with NORSEMAN on the Schuylkill in Philadelphia in celebration of Leif Ericson Day, our Viking crew will arrive at the site of the ceremony at noon on Saturday, Oct. 9. We will bear honored guests, with the Vikings serving as Honor Guard for the ceremony. (For many years before 1992, our former ship RAVNEN was a part of this annual observance).

Guests expected to ride on NORSEMAN this year include Mayor Ed Rendell of Philadelphia, and Mr. Tony Auth, editorial page cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Mayor Rendell has attended the ceremony each year during his term of office and became an Honorary Viking two years ago for his support for the observance. Tony Auth is a long time Viking enthusiast, and has provided cartoons of Vikings on the Schuylkill and elsewhere.

Due to the significance of 1999 to the Leif Ericson Millennium, all Nordic nations have been invited to be Hosts this year. Invited guests include Mr. Thor Heyerdahl, famed sailor and explorer, the Ambassadors from all the Nordic Countries, Premier Motzfeldt of Greenland, Consuls-General for the Nordic Countries, and Mayor Edward Rendell of Philadelphia.

Members, friends, Scandinavian Americans, and the public are invited to join in this ceremony, at the statue of Viking Thorfinn Karlsefni on Kelly Drive at the north end of boat house row on the Schuylkill. Viking costumes, National or ethnic costumes, and National flags are welcomed.

(Cartoon reprinted courtesy of Tony Auth and the Philadelphia Inquirer.)

The annual Leif Ericson Day Dinner will be a Gala black tie event this year, taking place at 6:30 p.m. at the Union League in Center City, Philadelphia. The Banquet is a fund raising event for VIKINGS SAIL2000! and the Leif Ericson Millennium Committee, to help support events scheduled for the year 2000. A guest speaker will be Thor Heyerdahl, with Dinner, entertainment by the Vertavo String Quartet, and dancing to the music of Marty Mellinger. For information on tickets and Corporate tables, contact the Committee at 609 964 1806.

We will display NORSEMAN on the sidewalk in front of the Union League, with Vikings standing by to welcome Dinner guests to the occasion. Shields on the ship bear the National colors of all the Nordic countries, Iceland, Greenland, and Canada, all taking part in the Leif Ericson Millennium celebrations in 1999-2000.


After many summer outings, including two midsummers’ celebrations, at Randolph, NJ and a visit to Lake Chataqua, NY, and taking part in the "Night in Venice" in Ocean City, NJ, our well-traveled ship and crew are preparing for a busy fall schedule. On September 5 NORSEMAN appeared at the annual Scandinavian Festival at Waterloo, NJ where rain showers did not discourage a large crowd.

Saturday Sept. 18 will find NORSEMAN at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia for their Viking Day program. On October 2 the ship and crew will journey to Budd Lake, NJ for the annual Leif Ericson Day Parade and Festival, and on October 9 we will sail on the Schuylkill in Philadelphia as part of the Leif Ericson Day celebration (see lead article).

Furthering our educational mission, NORSEMAN and crew members will appear at a major International Festival at the Fort Washington Expo Center in suburban Philadelphia. This four-day event, October 11 through 15, highlights all ethnic groups with cultural displays, exhibits, foods, and various ethnic performers. The program is keyed primarily to Middle and High School classes and their teachers and is new to the Philadelphia area. They expect that more than 40,000 people will attend, based on several years experience in Boston and other large cities. This will be a fine opportunity to dramatize Vikings and the Leif Ericson Millennium to a young audience typical of the general population. (Reminder: less than 5 per cent of the US population is Scandinavian American).


Step into. . . THE VIKING WORLD, by Philip Steele, Lorenz Books, New York, 1998.

We have recently obtained a number of copies of this excellent hardcover book for young people, prepared with the assistance of Leslie Webster, Consultant, of the British Museum. Some 26 brief chapters deal with every aspect of Viking life, from the coming of the Vikings to Viking burials. Each chapter is well illustrated with a blend of photographs of artifacts, re-enactments, drawings, maps, and photographs of Viking sites in many locations.

They devote chapters to subjects as varied as Viking towns, Family life, Dress and Decoration, Weapons and Armor, Food and Feasts, Seafaring, and many other subjects. They supplement the text with time lines, a glossary, and step-by-step illustrations of many craft projects re-creating Viking objects, including a helmet, sword, and shield.

Other projects include bread-making, Jewelry, a Drinking Horn, a Viking House, a Weather Vane, and a Viking Ship model. Interesting to the general reader and adults, this book would be an excellent aid to teachers of fourth to sixth grade classes planning a unit on Vikings. As a book for young people, a remarkably balanced approach depicts all aspects of Viking society using a rich variety of pictorial sources. $12.95, see order form on page 4 or order through


Until this year, our T-shirts all bore the date "1003" below the Viking ship design. All new shirts now say "1000", to be consistent with the decision to celebrate the Leif Ericson Millennium in the year 2000. (Authorities do not agree on the exact year, most say "about 1000"). We have a limited supply of "1003" shirts remaining and are selling them at a discount of 20 per cent. Just mark your order form "1003 shirts" and take the discount for that item. The design and quality of shirt will be exactly the same, except for the year.


(Conjectural illustration from a reprint of the Proceedings

of the US Naval Institute, before 1941.)


Thanks to webmaster Gil Jacobsen, and others, you can now help NORSEMAN when you order books through Any book that you buy, if you go to the Amazon site from the Leif Ericson Viking Ship site, we will receive 5% of the purchase price. Books specific to our site, such as one of our Viking Books, will generate a larger percentage. So you can now help us at no added cost to you by buying your books online through our web site, (

Winter '99 Newsletter