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Restored ‘Nordic Spirit’ sails again

Posted by Geeky Swedes on August 30th, 2009

On the 100th anniversary of the 1909 Norway Day celebration in Seattle, the Viking ship replica Nordic Spirit hit the open water Sunday for the first time since it was painstakingly restored.

The boat was donated to the Nordic Heritage Museum 30 years ago, and after months of restoration work by boatwright Cornelius Sprenger and Pacific Fishermen’s Shipyard, it was ready to sail again — a short voyage from Ballard to the Fishermen’s Terminal for the Norway Day festivities. The journey mirrors a voyage 100 years ago, when another Viking replica sailed across Lake Washington for Norway Day at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition.

After a few last-minute repairs and safety instructions, the Nordic Spirit pushed off from the dock. It nearly disappeared into a mystical layer of fog that covered the Ship Canal. “It was just an incredible sensation to see it, for me, to sail through the mist as if it were a brand new boat. It was fantastic,” said Eric Nelson, executive director of the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Another boat was on hand to provide a tow, just in case, but the men and woman at the oars provided more than enough power.

In fact, the Nordic Spirit made such good time, they pulled up to a dock under the Ballard Bridge and walked over to Mike’s Chili for lunch.

Then right on schedule, the Spirit rowed into Fishermen’s Terminal for the 100th anniversary celebration of Norway Day. A good crowd watched, cameras at the ready, as the Viking ship approached.

When it arrived, the boat’s crew raised the oars. “The last time it was in the water was back in the Delaware River, and they had a guy with a pail scooping out the water,” said Olaf Kvamme, a local historian and longtime member of the Nordic Heritage Museum. “I’m glad the museum took the initiative, it’s great.”

Kvamme and Norway Honorary Consul Kim Nesselquist did the honor of christening the boat. “Do you know the price of alcohol in Norway?” Nesselquist (left) joked before swinging the bottle against the stern. A few swings and laughs later, the bottle broke and the Nordic Spirit was officially dedicated. “It was really important for the museum to preserve it, and no better way do to that than get it restored and back in the water,” Nelson said. “To see it actually in the water, floating under its own power, it was remarkable.”

Watch video (above) of the inaugural voyage and the dedication.

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17 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Jason Bobcat Harrison // Aug 31, 2009 at 2:03 am

    the guy in the viking helmet is #1 superguy in my book Skol!

  • 2 Robin // Aug 31, 2009 at 2:07 am

    Is this one of the boats that was used 30 years ago for the annual re-enactment George Washington's crossing the Delaware River from Pennsylvania to New Jersey on Christmas eve?

  • 3 Elisabeth // Aug 31, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Typo alert – I think you guys meant “PAIL”, not “pale”.

  • 4 Ballardmom // Aug 31, 2009 at 3:51 am

    That's really cool.

  • 5 NoraBell // Aug 31, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Oh, yeah, that guy in the Viking helmet rocks! Nice boat, very cool they were able to do this.

  • 6 nousernameforme // Aug 31, 2009 at 5:28 am

    Typo alert- I think it's Elizabeth, not Elisabeth.

  • 7 Mondoman // Aug 31, 2009 at 5:50 am


  • 8 julochka // Aug 31, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    it's a beautiful replica. and i can tell you that the price of alcohol in norway is indeed completely absurd.

  • 9 boardbrown // Aug 31, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I love this sort of stuff first thing Monday morning.
    The second photo really hits the mark…Viking battle ship emerging from the mist. Good stuff!

  • 10 ballardmike // Aug 31, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Spam spam spam Spam spam….


  • 11 retoid // Aug 31, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Veldig kult å se litt Norsk kultur her i Washington.

  • 12 ym // Aug 31, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    If you visit MOHI you can see film footage of the boat when it was new as well as footage of Norway Day.

  • 13 charlotteberg // Aug 31, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Wonderful! Is the Delaware River mentioned in the artcle in Pennsylvania/New Jersey?We have the Leif Ericson Vikibg Ship “Norseman' Here, WWWVikingship/.org.

  • 14 boardbrown // Sep 1, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Sadly I don't know what it means, but that's a cool looking sentence.

  • 15 retoid // Sep 2, 2009 at 1:03 am

    Veldig kult å se litt Norsk kultur her i Washington.
    (Very cool to see some Norwegian culture here in Washington.)

  • 16 boardbrown // Sep 2, 2009 at 4:05 am

    Thanks! So “kult” means “cool” eh? That's err…pretty cool!

  • 17 خرید vpn // Nov 30, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Very interesting,thank you
    خرید vpn

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