Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nordic Spirit in the news

Check out this fantastic article about the Nordic Spirit by Alison Espiritu in the Ballard News Tribune this week. There is also a very nice photograph of the boat at Pacific Fishermen, taken by Michael Harthorne.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A new view

Doug Dixon at Pacific Fishermen sent me this picture earlier this week and I had to share it. When the Nordic Spirit was removed from storage it was filled will all kinds of debris. Doug and his guys have really cleaned her out and she looks great.

Monday, November 10, 2008

from Wendy Joseph

"We're going to Norway! Wait a minute - do we have any charts for Norwegian waters?"

Such was the response on the car carrier I crewed in the summer of 2005, as our normal route was delivering cars between the US eastern seaboard and western Europe. Nobody aboard had ever sailed to Scandinavia, and as it turned out we didn't have charts for Norway; there was a mad scramble at our port in Bremerhaven, Germany, to pick up the right charts there.

Heading through the North Sea and then up the coast of Norway, we traced the routes Viking invaders had sailed, and once in the morning mist, a 19th century tall ship emerged - Germany's entry in today's tall ship fleet. But were we going back in time as we headed north? Was Eric the Red just over the horizon? Would we see one of the long lost cousins of the Nordic Spirit approaching us?

We sailed up the long fiord to Trondheim, and I searched the dock for Viking warriors, with no luck. But the ruins of an ancient fort glowered in the harbor, a reminder that the days of long swords and stories of Odin and Loki around the fire at night were not so far off. Moreover, at night the gentle hills of the town were lit with warm yellow lights, and for all the world it looked like piles of gold, and that trolls would be coming out at any minute.

We slipped our moorings at Trondheim and steered back down the fiord. But with every ship that appeared, approaching us through the distance, I peered through the mists and wondered, could it be? Could it be the Nordic Spirit, a once and future Viking boat, transcending time and space?



Wendy Joseph sailed tall ships and cargo ships worldwide in the Merchant Marine, is a published poet and produced playwright, and currently lives near the shores of Lake Washington.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a closer look

Eric, Jason, and I visited the Pacific Fishermen shipyard on Friday morning to take a look at the Nordic Spirit. The guys at the shipyard have cleaned out the interior of the boat, uncovering new information about its condition and age. The fasteners used to hold the boat together, it turns out, are made of iron rather than the copper we had expected—indicating that the boat is older than we had assumed. However, these iron fasteners have nearly completely corroded, presenting us with an additional challenge in the boat's restoration. We are excited to be working with Jay Haavik and Cornelius Sprenger on the restoration of the Nordic Spirit. Together they have decades of knowledge and expertise in boat building and design that will be invaluable to our project. The evaluation of the Nordic Spirit will continue; we look forward to the discoveries ahead.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The move

Today the Nordic Spirit was released from the shed that has housed it for the past 28 years. NHM staff were joined by many excellent volunteers throughout the day who helped tear down the shed and tow the boat to Pacific Fishermen, Inc. where she will remain until her restoration is complete. We extend our sincerest thanks to everyone who came out this morning to help!

Removing the canvas exposes the frame of the shed.

The canvas comes down.


The boat is revealed.

We cut away each segment of the frame until the boat was free.

The boat was full of accessories.

Oars, the mast and the steering board.

The early morning crew.

The late morning crew.

Nordic Spirit underway.

Nordic Spirit arrives at Pacific Fishermen, Inc.

The beginning

The Nordic Spirit is a late 18th- or 19th-century fishing boat from the northern fjords of Norway. It was given to the Nordic Heritage Museum by Volvo-Penta of America in 1980, after serving as an outreach tool for the Swedish company. In the early 1960s Volvo reimagined the vessel and outfitted it with Viking-style embellishments.

Today, the Nordic Heritage Museum believes that the next life of the Nordic Spirit should begin in the spring of 2009, with its display at such events as the celebration of Norway’s Constitution Day (May 17), the Northwest Folklife festival, and the Ballard Seafood Festival, culminating with the centennial celebration of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYP), to occur late in the summer of 2009. The restored Nordic Spirit will reenact the sailing of the Viking, which opened Norway Day at the AYP Exposition in 1909. The celebration of Nordic participation will be a major component of next year’s centennial retrospective. Held on the University of Washington campus, the 1909 AYP attracted 3.7 million visitors to Seattle's first World's Fair and showcased Washington State as an international city.

The Nordic Heritage Museum recognizes the restoration of the Nordic Spirit as a way to both honor the past and inspire current and future generations. The restored Nordic Spirit will be a testament to the tradition of Scandinavian shipbuilding and adaptive reuse. The vessel has already had two lives: as a Norwegian coastal fishing boat in the late 18th or 19th century, and as an interpretive reproduction in the mid-20th century. Much-needed restoration of the vessel will enhance its current role as an educational object for the Museum’s ongoing cultural programs.