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Maiken Bagley is Head of the Viking Sailing Guild. It is the purpose of the Vikings Sailing Guild to enhance the skills and experience of sailing in Viking Vessels and to arrange sailing events for its members in Britain and abroad. We wish to encourage the membership of the Vikings to share information about sailing to enrich and embellish our hobby, and further our understanding of the Viking age. Guild members are expected to work towards increasing knowledge of sailing, seafaring, boat-building, ship maintenance and related crafts and skills of our period within The Vikings.

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The Viking Sailing Guild

The Vikings Sailing Guild is a Sailing Department within the Society, which aims to promote greater understanding of sailing within the Viking age. The Sailing Guild works to arrange sailing experiences for members of The Vikings aboard replica Viking ships at Roskilde Viking Ship Museum and elsewhere, to help members of The Vikings learn to crew authentic ships and further our understanding and practical knowledge of ship building, maintenance and sailing.


All members of The Vikings are invited to attend our events. Members of the Vikings may be awarded Drengr points for their attendance and participation in events arranged by the Viking’s Sailing Guild. Guild members are expected to work towards furthering knowledge of sailing, seafaring, boat-building, ship maintenance and related crafts and skills of our period within The Vikings. The Guild aims to communicate with the membership of The Vikings through the forum of the Runestaff or Facebook, and may, from time to time, arrange a lecture or talk on a sailing related topic for The Vikings general membership.

The Helge Ask rowed directly on to a beach for lunch, Roskilde 2016

Sailing Skills and Crafts

The construction and sailing of a Viking warship requires skills developed over generations, the application of which would be familiar to everyone living in the Viking age. We aim to pass knowledge of these crafts to everyone in the Society. Here are examples of some of the activities that we have been involved with.

Ship Building. The oak planks are shaped using replicas of the original tools (mainly axes).

Taran shaping a plank 2016

Danelaw's lumberjack competition 2016

Once the planks are all shaped and shaven they are riveted onto the boat.

The experts at Roskilde boatyard riveting a plank using traditional tools 2016

Rope Making. The rope making house on Roskilde boatyard.

The rope maker, Roskilde boatyard 2016

Wood Carving. The figure heads for the Viking ships are carved out of oak using replicas of the original tools.

The figurehead carver, Roskilde boatyard 2015

Steering the Ship. Steering using the steering board takes an experienced hand.

Tablet steering the Helge Ask in Roskilde Fjord 2016

The Helge Ask

The Helge Ask is a warship, albeit a small one, and it is probably the most beautiful one to be seen in Danish waters. Fully painted in bright colours, and with dragon´s head and tail mounted, it gives a very vivid impression of the colourful past.


The decoration is fully authentic. As always, the aim of the Viking Ship Museum has been to get as close to the original as possible in the working process as well in the ship itself, and the Vikings were certainly very fond of colours and illustrations.

The Helge Ask crewed by The Vikings in 2015 and sailing out of Roskilde boatyard

Type: Warship, replica of Skuldelev 5

Minimum crew: 6

Maximum crew: 30 - 40

Number of oarsmen: 26

Hight of mast: 9.5 m

Sail area: 46.5 m2

Overall length: 17.5 m

Weight: 2 tons + 750 kg. ballast

Width: 2.5 m

Depth: 0.6 m

Captain's Log

Roskilde 2015. Crew of the Helge Ask 2015 in Roskilde Fjord after a much needed lunch stop.

Crew of the Helge Ask 2015

Roskilde 2016. Crew of the Helge Ask 2016 about to try to find their ship in Roskilde boatyard after learning how to make boats and ropes.

Crew of the Helge Ask 2016

Roskilde 2018. Crew of the Helge Ask 2018 return to Roskilde harbour.

Crew of the Helge Ask 2018

Tall Tales from the Crew

Raiding Voyage 2018

Helge Ask and Skjoldungen race out under sail into Roskilde Fjord.

Helge Ask under sail 2018

We made land for supplies but the scouts were repelled by clouds of giant blood sucking flies that swarmed out from under the trees.

Weigh anchor and send out the scouts

Safe harbour was found for the night at an inlet in the Fjord.

Weigh anchor for the night

Where at last we could relax in the waters

Swimming in the waters alongside Skjoldungen

And make camp for the night, whereupon much merriment was had

The camp above the inlet

Returning safely to the harbour at Roskilde for the sunset, tired and victorious

Roskilde harbour at sunset

-Tale of Taran, Sailor and Survivor from the Helge Ask Voyage 2018

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