All about the Viking Ships

By Erik Solbakk 0 comments

All about the Viking Ships

Viking ships are among the most fascinating ancient relics to be found. Viking ships are the mighty warships of the Norsemen. They have been used as a platform to conduct raids, conquests and exploration expeditions. They have transported warriors, their families and treasures. Right up through today efforts are being made to discover all we can about these magnificent ships.

In this article I'm going to cover all you need to know about the Viking Ships, from their history to a brief overview of their construction. Viking Ships had a great impact on history. Without the Vikings we would not be enjoying the abundance of goods that we now have today. It was because of them that much of Europe was explored, settled and constructed. They basically did everything!


What ships did the Vikings use?

The Viking ships were made for a variety of reasons, such as exploration, trade and war. They were also used as a means of transportation for people and supplies. The Viking ships were made from wood that was available in their location.

The three types of Viking ships are:

Longships - These were the largest type of Viking ship that had at least 20 oarsmen on each side and could carry up to 60 warriors. It was used for exploration and trade voyages.

Dragonships - These ships were similar to the longships but had fewer oarsmen (16-20). They usually carried more cargo than the longships and had a higher freeboard (the distance between the waterline and deck).

Drakkars - These were smaller than dragonships but larger than knarrs (see below). They often had 12 oarsmen per side and could carry up to 30 warriors.


Why were Viking ships so good?

Viking ships were the best in their time because of four main reasons.

They were very sturdy and could withstand rough waters.

They were fast, especially when compared to other ships of the same period. Viking ships were also able to sail in both directions: they could sail against the wind as well as with it (the same cannot be said about modern sailing ships).

The design of a Viking ship made it possible for them to be used for trade, raiding and colonization activities by the Vikings.

They had a shallow draft which allowed them to navigate rivers and lakes easily.


What was the first Viking ship called?

Many historians believe that the first Viking ship was called the Oseberg. The Oseberg was a Viking ship discovered in Norway. It was found in 1904 and is thought to have been built in the early 900s.

The Oseberg has been preserved and can be seen at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway today.

The Gokstad and Tune were also discovered during this time period and they were used for transport and trade as well as warfare. it appears that these ships were not as specialized as those that would be created after them.


How long did it take Vikings to build a ship?

A Viking ship was a complex piece of engineering. It had to be sturdy enough to withstand the waves and storms of the North Atlantic, but light enough to be dragged across land. It needed to be able to carry men and animals, but not so large that it couldn't be transported over rivers or through forests.

The average Viking ship took about a year to build. There were many variations on the basic design, but most of them were somewhere between 35 and 50 feet long. They were built with a keel, meaning that there was a solid piece of wood running down the center of the boat underneath the waterline. This helped keep the ship from turning over when it hit rough seas.


Why did Viking ships have shields on the side?

The main reason why Viking ships had shields on the side was for protection.

As you can see from the picture above, there were two shields hanging off each side of the ship. These shields were used to protect the crew from arrows and other projectiles fired by their enemies. The shields were also used as a means of boarding an enemy vessel. If a Viking wanted to board another ship, he would grab hold of his shield and jump into the water, where he would then swim over to his enemy's ship and try to get on board.

Another reason why Vikings had shields on their ships was because they needed something to use as a step when they were jumping or climbing up onto another vessel. Once they got on board, they would have to be able to defend themselves against any other crew members who might still be alive on that ship.

Why did Viking boats have dragon heads?

The dragon's head was not just decoration; it had a practical use as well. It would scare away potential attackers, and it also had a religious significance. The Vikings believed that their gods would protect them if they sailed in ships with dragon heads.

There are many different theories about why the Vikings chose to decorate their boats with dragon heads. Some scholars believe that they were inspired by their belief in Norse mythology. Others think that they wanted to intimidate other people into thinking that they were dangerous fighters so they wouldn't have any enemies when they were travelling overseas.


What did Vikings call a ship captain?

The captain of a Viking ship was called a skipari. The term comes from the Old Norse skippari, which means "master of a ship".

The skipari was in charge of sailing and navigation, as well as all other aspects of running the ship. He was also responsible for making sure that everyone on board did their job properly and safely.

The skipper's position was one of high honor and responsibility. If something went wrong with the voyage, it was his fault, so he had to be very careful in everything he did.


How well did Viking ships sail?

The Viking ships were very fast and seaworthy. The Vikings traveled very long distances, including trips to North America. The Vikings had to travel over the ocean because they needed to find new places to settle. The Vikings were excellent sailors because they used their knowledge of the ocean.

They knew that if they sailed close enough to land, they could find fresh water and food. They also set up temporary camps along their route so that they could rest when they needed to. The Vikings took advantage of the wind by using sails on their ships.


How did Viking ships handle rough seas?

Well, it was common for the Viking ships to lose their mast when they encountered rough seas. The ships were very flexible and would bend in the wind, causing the mast to snap.

The Vikings were also not very good at sailing into headwinds; they would often wait until the wind was favourable before setting sail.

In addition, they did not have any kind of compass on board (they had no idea how). So if they sailed off in a different direction than what they intended, they would be lost at sea until they found land again.

So yes, Viking ships were notoriously bad at handling rough seas and ocean winds - but this is mainly because their purpose was not to sail across oceans but rather along rivers and lakes with lots of shallow water where it's easier for them to navigate.


How did the Vikings navigate without a compass?

The Vikings were excellent navigators and had a great understanding of the night sky. They used the sun, moon, planets and stars to guide them on their journeys.

The Vikings would often use "sunstones" or Icelandic spar (silicon dioxide) for navigation purposes. This material has an unusual property that makes it possible to determine the direction of sunlight even on an overcast day. The sunstone is able to detect even weak light sources, such as starlight, and when held up to the light it acts like a lens to project an image onto a surface behind it.

When navigating by this method, the Vikings first took note of where they were in relation to the sun's position in the sky at different times during their journey. They then used this information to determine how far they had traveled during the night or day and therefore where they were located in relation to their starting point.


How did Vikings cross the ocean?

The answer is they had no choice. They were pushed out of their home, Scandinavia, by climate change and a shortage of resources.

They lived in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland during the early Middle Ages. This was before Columbus discovered America (1492), so there was no other way for them to find new homes than crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

There are many theories about how they got there, including sailing from Norway to Greenland (which is much closer than North America). But most experts agree that it was mostly accidental. They discovered America when they were looking for a place to fish or hide from enemies.


How did Vikings sleep on ships?

Early Vikings slept in longships that were open at both ends and had no mast or sail. They often slept on their shields (a type of shield made out of wood) which were laid flat on top of each other. These shields were then covered with animal skins or wool blankets for warmth.

Later Vikings slept under sails that were made from animal hides stretched over wooden frames. These sails could be raised up at night so that rain didn't fall on them while they slept, but they did not provide much in terms of warmth or shelter from wind or rain during the day.


What did Vikings eat on their ships?

Vikings are known for their love of seafood. In fact, they named a holiday "Fish Day" in honor of the sea. But what did Vikings eat on their ships?

They didn't have refrigerators or freezers, so meat was difficult to store and often went bad before it could be eaten. Seafood was easier to preserve because it didn't spoil as fast as other foods.

Seafood also provided a good source of protein and vitamins. Fish was especially important during long voyages because it didn't need to be cooked before being eaten (unlike meat). It could also be stored in barrels filled with salt water until needed.

Vikings also ate many kinds of fruits and vegetables like apples, onions, leeks, cabbage and carrots. They also ate grains like barley and oats — but not wheat because it caused stomach problems if eaten raw!


Why did Vikings burn their ships?

It may seem like a strange thing to do, but burning your ship as you reach land is a common practice among Vikings. It was done as a way to make sure that no one would sail back.

To understand why this practice was so important, it helps to understand a bit about Viking culture. The Vikings were warriors by nature, and they believed that the bravest warriors would be those who stayed on shore with their families rather than sailing back home. So the Vikings would burn their ships as soon as they arrived at their destinations, ensuring that no one could ever leave again.



Before I conclude this article, I want to leave you with a final thought. The Vikings have had an enormous impact on our world, and they continue to do so even to this day. And yet, much of what they accomplished could not have been done without their powerful ships that carried them safely through rough seas and delivered glorious treasures. It's truly amazing to think that their legacy is still so relevant today.

We now know a lot more about Viking ships. I hope that you will be able to use this information well in your future endeavors or endeavors you are currently taking up. I hope that you will enjoy using the things that we have provided and please feel free to ask if there is anything else you would like to know.

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