The Vikings were driven to set sail deep into the seas. Highly skilled sailors, warriors, and explorers. Their wooden longships carried them across through rough untamed waters dodging icebergs, rocks, and surviving brutal storms.
The Vikings relied heavily upon their trusted wooden boats and massive rectangular sails in open seas. As they approached coastal areas they dropped their mast and rowed their boats to penetrate rivers to access fertile rich resources (people’s stuff).
Vikings focused on the sky above for navigation purposes drawing out their path using the sun and the stars. Whenever possible they would sail within sight of land far from the coast for safety reasons. Their knowledge of wildlife and the environment helped them find their way.
Many of the Viking ships we have today survived due to being buried with wealthy Vikings. This was a custom reserved only for the rich Vikings. Most ships rotted away back into the land it came from.
The best-preserved ships are Oseberg and Gokstad from Norway. They are slender light vessels.
A Viking Warship
Extremely powerful the Viking warship was able to carry many warriors across the oceans. Compared to other ships in it’s time it was the longest, sleekest, and quickest of all other Viking ships. The mast could be taken up for more maneuverability using 24 to 50 oarsman depending on its size. Rowing allowed them to row their ships up narrow inlets and glide up flat beaches. On long voyages, the Viking warriors would take shifts rowing if the wind couldn’t do the job.
Even when the ship was full of warriors and heavy load the keel was extremely shallow that it didn’t require the need of a jetty or quay and could be unloaded right on the shore. This allowed them to do hit and run raids in a timely manner. When the ship was beached men and horses could easily wade ashore.
There had been two well-preserved Viking Warships that were discovered in Roskilde Fjord in Denmark. They were filled with many stones and sunk deliberately around the year 1000. The longest ship was 92 ft (28 m) from stern to prow. It was the longest ship ever found to date.
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