IT is quite likely that a Viking ship built in Hastings will make a record voyage from Australia to Denmark.
However, the ship will be carried aboard a modern day freighter rather than setting sail and relying on the stamina of oarsmen.
Asbjorn Pedersen attributes his fascination with the square rigged ships to the “Viking blood running through my heart”.
Now living in Mornington, Mr Pedersen was born on Bornholm, a small Danish island in the Baltic Sea, about 100 kilometres north of the fortress of Jomsborg.
The fortress was the headquarters of the legendary Jomsvikings, a group of mercenaries organised by Danish King Harold Bluetooth.
Vikings and dreams of building a replica Viking ship have long been on Mr Pedersen’s mind and in February 2020 he set about making a full scale copy of a more than 100-year-old trading ship he first saw at the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark.
The 14.8 metre long, 3.4 metre wide Mjoiner (named after the hammer of the thunder god Thor) is set to be launched next month before being shipped off to a Viking festival in Denmark.
After returning to Australia, the Mjoiner, its six-person crew and 52.5 square metre black sail will be seen regularly in Port Phillip “and we hope to be part of the festivals around the bay and we will be wearing full Viking kit”, Mr Pedersen said.
“We have formed a reenactment group, The Joms Vikings, and the ship is painted in their colours of black, red and white
“This is a little part of history – It has been lots of work, but a labour of love.”
Mr Pedersen’s mother’s side of the family live in the Faroe Islands, in the middle of the North Atlantic, halfway between Norway and Iceland.
“They are still making small fishing boats, and are very similar to the Viking ship, so every time that I get up there, my cousins take me to visit the boat builders,” he said.
The original trading ship he saw at the Roskilde museum “was in a very good condition, considering it had been in the water for more than 1000 years”.
The museum made a replica – the Freja Byrding – as an experiment to see how ships like that were built and sailed.
“Every time that I am in Denmark I go sailing on that ship,” Mr Pedersen said.
After describing his plans to also copy the trading Viking ship to his friends who had made the Freja Byrding, he was nicknamed The Epoxy Viking, because of his plan to use an expo glue.
His dreams were also able to be realised after meeting David Duncan and his brother Jim, of the Hastings-based NRP Group, who provided the undercover space to build a boat.
“They allowed me to set up shop on their land in Hastings. It was fantastic sponsorship,” Mr Pedersen said.
Aaron Pearson and Taylor Kelly volunteered to help with the building and will also be crew members.
“They’ve been a great help, but it has been very hard during the lockdowns,” he said.
“But I am very happy with the result. We will have a crew of six to sail but will be able to carry about 20 people.”