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Draken Harald Hårfagre returns to Isle of Man under full sail

Replica Viking ship Draken Harald Harfagre under sail in Peel bay

Replica Viking ship Draken Harald Harfagre under sail in Peel bay

  • by Jackie Turley
 

The mighty Viking ship, the Draken Harald Hårfagre made a spectacular return to Peel Harbour on Tuesday.

Under full sail, having been fitted with a new mast in Liverpool, the Draken Harald Hårfagre, the world’s largest operational Viking ship, sailed into harbour on Tuesday morning, having sailed overnight across the Irish sea.

She then treated crowds to a sailing display around the bay.

A large crowd was waiting to greet them as the ship made its way through the harbour gates. Once docked skipper Bjorn Ahlander and oars master Tora Heide were officially welcomed at Peel Town hall by Peel Commissioners chairman Ray Harmer.

‘We love to come here’, Bjorn told them. Thank you for taking us into this beautiful harbour. It’s my favourite place I’ve seen. Maybe we’ll come every year now.’

Bjorn and the crew hope to see more of the island and, above all, relax following the struggles to get the mast repaired and the ship back to its proper state.

On the voyage down from Norway two months ago, the ship’s mast cracked and broke away in the North Sea, leaving the ship reliant on its engine.

The ship’s carpenters were sent to find a suitable tree to replace it, which was then taken to Liverpool to be shaped, fettled and installed, meaning the Draken could finally unveil its stunning red silk sail.

‘It’s much, much better to be under sail,’ said Bjorn. ‘It’s very hard to row, as we can’t do it for very long. But sailing is much better. We’re going to sail all the way from now on.’

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