Replica Viking Ship Arrives Next Week

Replica Viking Ship Arrives Next Week
The centuries-old Viking replica ship Draken is scheduled to arrive in Ocean City next week and moor at its temporary home along the bulkhead at 3rd Street where it will remain for an eight-day stay. File photo

OCEAN CITY- Residents and visitors to the resort next week will have the rare opportunity to see a replica of a centuries-old Viking ship sail through the Inlet and on to its mooring along the bulkhead between 3rd and 4th Streets will it will remain for an eight-day visit.

Three times in the last four years, the replica tall ship El Galeon Andalucia visited Ocean City in August, delighting visitors and residents as it entered the Inlet and cruised carefully through the narrow Route 50 drawbridge to its temporary home along the bulkhead between 3rd and 4th Streets. This year, however, Ocean City will get a visitor of a different sort when the replica Viking ship Draken Harald Harfagre makes an eight-day stop in the resort as part of a larger east coast tour.

The Draken, as it is simply called, is an exact replica of the type of ocean-going vessel the Vikings sailed across the Atlantic when they discovered the New World centuries ago. The Draken is scheduled to arrive in Ocean City next Wednesday, August 22 under full sail as it passes across the resort’s coastline before coming through the Inlet and passing through the drawbridge to its temporary home. The Draken is scheduled to depart Ocean City on August 29 after an eight-day stay.

The Draken is a replica of the same ocean-going sailing vessels the Vikings built dating back centuries during a period from around 750 A.D. to 1100 A.D. It was built to the same specifications and using the same technology as the Vikings used during the era. It features the same ornate designs as the original including the head and tail of a dragon at either end and intricate carvings and other design features throughout the vessel.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming the Draken ship to Ocean City,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. “AS a family-friendly destination that strives to offer a wide variety of events and features for our visitors to enjoy, we feel the Draken will provide vacationers with a unique opportunity to experience a piece of Viking history while staying here in Ocean City.”

The plan includes a reception when the Draken arrives on August 22 including a tour by local elected officials and other dignitaries. For the next eight days, visitors and residents will have the opportunity to tour the vessel, meet the captain and crew and learn more about its weighty history.

In the municipal park adjacent to the vessel’s mooring along the bulkhead between 3rd and 4th Streets will be the Draken Village, a festival of sorts featuring vendors, food and beverages, interactive displays and other opportunities for residents and visitors to see the vessel up close and learn about its history.

“The Vikings were accomplished navigators, artisans, traders and storytellers, but their greatest triumph was the ships they built,” said Draken Captain Bjorn Ahlander. “Each Draken stopover offers guests a tangible tie to history. We hope our visitors are inspired by the vigor of the Viking spirit and our modern-day adventures.”

The Draken’s visit to Ocean City is part of a larger east coast tour that began in July.  Hosted in partnership with Ocean City, the Draken will offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to relive history in a way never experienced before. Draken will allow guests to not only marvel at this stunning Viking ship, but also to interact with the crew as they share their personal experiences of thrill, fear, and exhilaration while enduring the ship’s 2016 transatlantic crossing, reliving the Viking discovery of the New World more than 1,000 years ago.

Within the Draken Village, which is free and open to the public, guests can experience a photo and video exhibition illustrating Viking history, modern explorers, and the adventures of the Draken, land-side views of the ship, the Highland Park Whisky hospitality tent, local food and beverage vendors and official Draken merchandise.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.