The Vikings were adventurers with an insatiable appetite for discovering and conquering new lands, driven by circumstances they could not always control. Today, a small volunteer boat guild is going on a trial voyage in the wake of the Vikings, fuelled by historical interest, the desire to to challenge themselves, to be part of an intense social experience and to meet the Greenlanders in a dialogue about our common past.
Skjoldungen's crew is composed of eight committed people, with different backgrounds, ages and levels of sailing experience. They have trained and planned for the voyage for several years. Some of them are familiar with the coast that is going to challenge their skills, courage and unity as a team, while others joined the crew out of curiosity. Comon for all is the dream of, and longing for, adventure.
Ole Sand, 58 years old
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Family: Married with two children and six grandchildren
I'm taking part because: For many years it's been a dream of mine to sail around Greenland. I've been there many times, seen many remains of Norse settlements and alwas though it would be fantastically exciting to sail between the settlements in a smaller boat.
I'm looking forward to: ASailing on a broad reach, in fine sunshine up along the coast north of Napulitok on the way to Nuuk. Just be off sailing!
Sailing experience: Sailed various dinghies as a boy and ordinary Bermuda riggers as an adult. When I was young, I was hired to work as a geologist's assistant in Greenland for three months, where we sailed with rubber dinghies and cutters. I've sailed with square-sailed boats at the Viking Ship Museum for 20 years and taken part in voyages to Norway, Scotland, Hedeby, Gdansk, and was skipper on a trip to Visby on Gotland.
Speciel duties on board: Skipper
Ingeborg Nielsen, 41 yes old
Family: Two children, 7 and 11 years old
I'm taking part because: I've always had a taste for adventure and a weakness for Greenland, so I jumped at the chance when Ole Sand began to talk about a voyage around the Norse settlements.
I'm looking forward to: I can't wait to slip the mooring lines in Nanortalik and get started on the humpling journey that is sailing a small boat like Skjoldungen. We have some fantastic workhorses on board - people who can take the worst without complaining. It's been a pleasure to work together with them on this project and I can't wait for us to be out sailing together.
Sailing experience: I had my 'equator baptism' as a baby, when my parents sailed home from South Africa to Denmark, and I've been sailing all my life, mostly with Bermuda riggers but later on, also with square sail. I've sailed the Viking ship Ottar home from Gottland and from Roskilde to Tønsberg. I also have experience with natural navigation.
Speciel duties on board: Watch leader and assistant skipper
Anders Christian Thing Japsen, 25 years old
Occupation: Apprentice carpenter
Family: A girlfriend
I'm taking part because: It's been a dream of mine for a long time. I've been fascinated by Greeland since childhood, as my aunt worked up there for long periods of time and brought home tupilak figures and other exciting things home to my sister and I. It's just amazing to get the chance to come to Greenland and sail in a Viking Ship.
I'm looking forward to: DIt's going to be an incredible to be in that landscape and to see Greeland from the water. The fact that we can all contribute to research gives the voyage an extra purpose.
Sailing experience: Three years experience with square-sail ships. I don't have that many years of experience, but I have sailed alot since I started. I've sailed the Viking ships Sif Ege, Sea Stallion from Glendalough and Skjoldungen.
Qualifications: Proficiency certificate
Special duties on board: Bosun and first aid officer. I have the overall responsibility for supplies as well as the boat, rig and sail.
Sissel Kondrup, 37 years old
Occupation: Employment political consultant in a trade union
I'm taking part because: I can! It's a long time since I've been on a longer trip and I had the urge to get away. I've travelled Greenland as tourist and think it's an insanely beautiful place. That we also have the chance to sail while being up there makes it perfect.
I'm looking forward to: Experiencing the landscape. I'm so excited about the prospect of lying in that little ship surrounded by all that spectacular scenery, and I hope we get to see some whales. I'm also looking forward to meeting the Greenlanders. When you sail in a small boat like Skjoldungen, you get to know people in a different way than normal. We are bringing something with us that we can display and I hope it will give us new perspectives and maybe open some doors for us.
Sailing experience: I was a sailing instructor at the Viking Ship Museum for five years and skipper on the Viking ship Imme Sejr for 15 years. I have sailed to Scotland as watch leader on the Viking ship Ottar oand have corssed the Atlantic on a modern Bermuda rigged sailing boat.
Qualifications: Y3 and Y1.
Special duties on board: Watch leader, which means I'm in charge of one of the watch teams on board.
Jørn-Ove Johannsen, 44 years old
Occupation: Ventilation engineer at NNE pharmaplan
Family: Married fort twenty years and have two children, 13 and 11 years old.
I'm taking part because: It is a great personal challenge and a fantastic chance to sail for six weeks along the coast of Greenland. I took the same trip last year in a motor boat and I'm looking forward to doing it again by sail.
I'm looking forward to: ASetting off from Nanortalik, when all the preparations are over and we can get started with what we've been working towards.
Sailing experience: Before I became a engineer, I sailed as ship's mate and for the last 15 years I've been a watch leader in the Naval Civil Defence. I've sailed with square-sail ships at the Viking Ship Museum for four years.
Qualifications: Proficiency certificate for commercial sailing, Y3 and ROC-certificate.
Special duties on board: SFirst aid officer and responsible for communication and safety on board. Together with the skipper, I've developed an emergency plan for the voyage, taken part in meetings with the Danish Maritime Authority and the Museum, and been to meeting with Artic Command in Nuuk. I'm also responsible for all the techincal equipment on board.
Torben Okkels, 60 years old
Occupation: Teacher in pedagogy
Family: Two children, 19 and 21 years old.
I'm taking part because: DIt's a chance to test your limits. We are sailing out in a small boat and you can compare it to eight adults sharing a child's bedroom for a month and a half and trying to get everything to function. It's going to be fantastic.
I'm looking forward to: All of it! If you're a fan of sailing, history, nature, and enjoy social situations as much as I do, then it's the perfect trip.
Sailing experience: HI've had my own sailing boat since I was 25 and have sailed around the world as deck-hand on cargo ships. For many years, I've also been sailing with square-sail ships at the Viking Ship Museum, and have crossed the Baltic twice and taken part in a voyage from Roskilde to Hedeby in the Viking ship Sea Stallion from Glendalough.
Qualifications: Proficiency Certificate
Special duties on board: Steward
Hauke Griffel, 18 years old
Occupoation: 1st year student at Slagelse Gymnasium
Family: Mother, father and three brothers
I'm taking part because: JI want to see as much as the world as possible. I heard that a project had started and that they had an opening so I jumped at the chance. Greenland is said to be so beautiful and sailing a Viking ship is great, so it couldn't be much better.
I'm looking forward to: Casting off in Nanortalik and say: ’See you in six weeks!’. It'll be great to experience how it is to sail alone on the water. It's a rare thing to experience in Denmark but up there, there will be long stretches where it is just us and nature.
Sailing experience: I have sailed both motor and sail boats since I was small. Both my father and grandfather were sailors, so it was a natural thing for me. When I was 14, I contacted the Viking Ship Museum and joined the crew of the Viking ship Ottar, and have been sailing with them ever since. Qualifications: Proficiency Certificate and am currently taking Y3.
Speciel duties on board: Supply steward
Jørgen Dan Gregers, 55 years old
Family: Two children and a girlfriend
I'm taking part because: I'm interested in history and would like to see the place the Norse settled. I also like to get out into nature and away from civilisation.
I'm looking forward to: AExperiencing the landscape and meeting the Greenlanders.
Sailing experience: I have sailed square-sail ship at the Viking Ship Museum for 10 years, including voyages to Norway and ireland with the Viking ship Sea Stallion from Glendalough.
Qulificiations: Proficiency Certificate.
Special duties on board: Ordinary crewmember.