Drakkar (Norwegian Drakkar, from the Old Norse Drage - "dragon" and Kar - "ship", literally - "dragon ship") - this is how the wooden Viking ship is called today, long and narrow, with a high bow and stern. Hence another name for such a vessel - "long ship" (Langskip)
Drakkar sizes ranged from 35 to 60 feet (10 to 18.5 meters). A carved dragon's head was attached to the bow (hence the name of the type of ship), and shields were located along the sides. Not every ship with a dragon's head on the bow was a longship - the dragon's head symbolized the high status of the owner of the ship, and the ship itself could be anything. When approaching friendly lands, the dragon's head was removed - according to the beliefs of the peoples of the North, it could frighten or anger good spirits. If the Vikings wanted peace, the leader from the nose of the drakkar showed a shield, the inner side towhich was painted white. Drakkars were propelled by oars and a rectangular sail . Management was carried out using a steering oar with a short transverse tiller mounted on the starboard side. Large ships had up to 35 pairs of oars (the “Great Serpent” built for King Olaf Tryggvason in the winter of 999/1000) and reached speeds of up to 10–12 knots, which can be considered an outstanding indicator for ships of this class.
Drakkars were built from many types of wood, among which the most important were ash, pine and oak. Viking shipbuilders initially chose trees with natural curves for the keel and frames. Immediately after cutting, without waiting for drying, the tree was split in half with wedges, and then the resulting blanks were split further, exclusively along the fibers. The resulting boards could be bent over a wide range without fear for their strength. To give the boards additional flexibility, they were moistened with water and held over a fire. The most important toolThe tool was a carpenter's axe. It was believed that one was enough to build a ship, but other tools were also used: chisels, drills, etc. Saws, although they were known to the Scandinavians from the 8th century, were not used to build ships.
For cladding, boards were used that were overlapped (the so-called lap sheathing, or clinker). Depending on the place of construction and traditions, boards were fastened with iron nails and rivets, wooden nails, or even “knitted”. Then the whole structure, just like now, was caulked and pitched. Thus, when moving through the water, an air gap was created, which increased stability, stability and speed of movement: thanthe faster the speed became, the more stable and smoother the ship moved.
The sails were sewn from wool - from the long hair of northern European sheep. Lanolin (fatty layer), covering the wool, further protected the sail from getting wet. This technology is somewhat reminiscent of the production technology of modern linoleum. The sails were sewn in rectangular and square shapes - for better movement with a fair wind.
It took about 200 kg of sheep's wool and 9 years of work to make a large sail with an area of 112 square meters. Given that one sheep produced 1–2.5 kg of wool per year, the finished sail was highly valued.
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