Thanks to sailing ships, the Vikings managed not only to get to America for the first time, but also to establish ties with Europe. Let's talk about the Vikings and their maritime culture!
The Vikings are known not only as great warriors, but also for their shipbuilding skills and sea voyages. On their wooden drakkars they plowed the seas and were a thunderstorm of the northern borders of Europe.
In addition to the great feat (technically the first discovery of a new continent - North America), the Vikings, by and large, were quite skilled sailors. Despite their reputation as barbarians and invaders, the Vikings' abilities and accomplishments went far beyond mere raiding and raiding. Their geography of navigation is really amazing - from the already mentioned America to Baghdad and North Africa.
And all this became possible thanks to boats with sails. Interestingly, the average speed that the Vikings managed to develop was about 8 knots. To sail to England or Northern Britain, the Vikings spent from 3 to 6 days in good weather. If on the path of the Vikings there were natural obstacles in the form of storms or storms, then the warriors went to tricks. The Vikings did not disdain long enough stops in quiet bays, they tried to outrun the storm and go as quickly as possible. After all, the trip could have been postponed until better weather.
Viking sailing ships
Despite the fact that the Vikings lived almost 1000 years ago, their sailing ships were the epitome of technological progress. It was thanks to the drakkars and knorrs (commercial type of ships) that the warriors of Scandinavia were able to develop their military and commercial success throughout Europe.
Drakkars were one of the most popular types of sea transport among the Vikings. They were decorated with skillful carvings and decor, which differed depending on the symbolic meaning of the vessel. Due to the shape of the hull and sails, they were very fast. But at the same time, the narrow and oblong shape of the longships became a problem at the moment when it came to carrying capacity and large provisions. Because of this, the Vikings had to increase the size of their boats, further strengthen the structure and travel in small caravans.
Sails on Viking ships
Sails in Viking times were one of the most advanced technologies - even despite the fact that the sail itself was invented almost 5 thousand years ago. If not for the sail, it is unlikely that the Vikings would have been able to reach the distant shores of America, Greenland, the Mediterranean Sea. Sails began to be used by the Vikings around the 7th-8th centuries AD.
The sails were sewn together from several large pieces of fabric. Such a sail had the shape of a regular rectangle. The height of the sail rarely exceeded 12 meters, and the width - 20. To control the sail, a fairly large amount of running rigging was used, with which the position of the sail was adjusted relative to the wind. The luffs were often attached to the piers to hold the sail in position.
Danish scientists believe that drakkars and other Viking ships could safely navigate even sharp courses - hauled (both steep and full). The masts on these ships were removable. The team could remove or leave the mast without any problems. At the same time, no additional devices outside the vessel were required.
In addition to sails, Scandinavian warriors used oars. Thanks to this, they were able to develop a decent, in comparison with other ships of that era, speed at sea. Moreover, the Viking drakkars differed not only in speed, but also in maneuverability, capacity and driving performance.
These sailing boats were designed in such a way that they could successfully withstand the blows of the elements and survive long sea passages without much difficulty.
Viking Age Navigation
In addition to the fact that the Scandinavian warriors were excellent at handling wood, they were also sailors anywhere. Unlike today, the people of antiquity did not have any technology that made it easier for them to navigate. There were no full-fledged maps yet, the magnetic compass had not yet been invented, hundreds of years remained before the sextant.
The Vikings had their own interesting navigation system at sea. When they were close to the shore, visual memory came to the rescue - a system of landmarks on the shore and near the shore was used. Mountains, plains, sheer cliffs could become landmarks for sailors. Moreover, the Vikings even used birds to navigate the terrain. Migratory birds almost always flew along specific routes, which gave the Vikings an idea of \u200b\u200bits location or where to go.
Scandinavian sailors studied the nature around them and how it lives. This helped them not to get lost and understand where they are. The behavior of the wind, seasonal waves, the position of the sun at different times of the year, local landmarks and attractions on the coast - absolutely everything was used.
England is an important transit point
A thousand years ago, any sea voyage, almost anywhere in the world, was a very dangerous undertaking. For the Vikings, the journey from Scandinavia to England was one of the favorite routes. Despite the fact that generations of Vikings sailed to England, the route was still largely dependent on weather conditions.
Often warriors spent many days and weeks at sea before they landed on the shores of England. The reason for this was severe weather, strong winds and high waves. In order not to get lost at sea due to bad weather, the Vikings often got up for long stops in the fjords, quiet harbors, or simply slowed down.
Usually the most difficult test on the way fell at the end of the journey. Often, on the approaches to England, strong, evil winds began to blow, which could either throw the drakkar ashore or carry the boat far into the sea. In such erratic conditions, the Vikings would tuck in their sails and try to get to shore, either by rowing or looking for the nearest shelter off the shore.
It was England that became one of the most important transit points for the Vikings. It was a stop in front of the Mediterranean Sea, to which the Vikings walked along the coast, not going far into the open sea. From England it was possible to go to Norway, and to Denmark, and to Scotland. Due to the geographical position of Foggy Albion, it became a kind of outpost of the Vikings, which opened up a full path to Europe for them.
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