Attracting thousands of people from across Long Island, the world’s largest operating Viking ship, the Draken Harald Hårfagre, completed its four-day stopover in Greenport on Saturday.
Built from oak, Douglas fir and hemp, the 115-foot-long, 26-foot and 2-inch-wide clinker-built Viking longship took two years to construct. Norwegian entrepreneur Sigurd Aase built it with the intention of recreating a functional Viking ship. The ship took its first sail in April 2016 from its home in Haugesund, Norway, to several ports in Canada and the United States.
Tickets for tours of the boat — part of its 2018 “Expedition America” east coast tour — sold out through 2 p.m. Saturday. Visitors were treated to crew members regaling them with stories about daily life on the boat and the history tied to the ship.
Married couple Lori and Rene Lamorelle of Bay Shore said they had been interested in the boat since they heard it was completed in 2012 and had been trying to visit it for years. When they heard the tour was stopping in Greenport, the couple — both avid fans of sailing — said they couldn’t resist driving an hour to get there.
“We missed them when they were in Newport and we missed them all over, so when we heard they would be here, we decided to go for it,” said Lori Lamorelle, whose family is of Norwegian descent.
Mike Kelly, of Farmingdale, visited with his wife Alison Kelly and their children Cam, 14, Ashlinn, 12 and Brenna, 11.
Allison Kelly said she was fascinated by the history of the boat’s features, especially the two black raven statues onboard. Vikings would keep ravens onboard to help them find land.
Mike Kelly said he gained an appreciation for how the crew had to operate the ship in such cramped quarters. When asked if he would like to come back, Mike Kelly said he would, adding, “It’s pretty cool, very interesting.”
Kevin Duggan, 46, of Bayport, was with his two children Cecilia, 5, and Kyran, 7, as the family toured the boat. His family normally visits Greenport once a year and after hearing about the boat from his wife, he said, “I’d lie if I said you’d see something like this anywhere.”
Erik Selin, 24, the crew’s chief mate, said the Greenport tour had attracted at least 1,000 people daily since they arrived on Wednesday. “Greenport has been a really awesome town, the people have been so hospitable,” Selin said.
Noting Greenport has a rich maritime history, Selin said that played a part in why the crew chose the village, adding the tours tended to attract more people in smaller communities. A native of Gothenburg, Sweden, Selin joined the crew in late July and said being part of the tour gave him the opportunity to visit the U.S. for the first time.
“It’s a pretty unique way to experience a new country,” he said.