The Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge’s Viking Long Ship float, built by Lodge member Brian Petersen, made its first public appearance at the Fourth of July parade in Oak Harbor this summer and has been really getting around since then. It appeared again in the Whidbey Island Fair annual parade in Langley on Saturday, July 22nd, and then again at the Farmer’s Market in Coupeville on August 26th, at the Oak Harbor Farmer’s Market on August 31st, and the Bayview Market on Sept 9th. Upcoming appearances are planned on October 7th at the Coupeville Market, and on Dec 2nd in the Greening of Coupeville Parade.
Brian says that he is very happy and proud to have been able to research and construct this symbol of the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge. He sees the float as a way to inform the public that there is a Nordic Lodge on Whidbey Island and to give the Lodge recognition within the community. Brian hopes that the exposure will also aid in increased membership.
Brian’s idea to build this Viking Long Ship was based on the fact that a Viking boat is a very recognizable Nordic symbol. He started by looking on the internet for pictures and plans for Viking boats. He was finally able to track a boat down at the Nordic Lodge in Portland, Oregon. Accompanied by enthusiastic Lodge member Dick Johnson, Brian made a trip down to Oregon to see and photograph their ship. He was also able to obtain a copy of the plans for their boat (such as they were). This gave him his starting point; construction of his Viking Long ship began on a resurrected boat trailer and with the newly acquired plans, a large cardboard box, and no idea of what he was getting into.
It turned out that the plans obtained were originally that of a ship conceived and built in Great Falls, MT as a one-third scale model of a Viking ship. Brian reduced this scale even further to end up with a boat that is 16 1/2 feet long with a beam of 6 feet. It is entirely screwed together and is one unit in that the trailer base is part of the boat.
During construction, Brian was forced to improvise in places as the plans in hand were not entirely accurate. “This is what builds character” he says. “I believe the effort was worth it because the float will advertise the Whidbey Island Nordic Lodge to our surrounding community.”
Brian’s hope is that this Viking Long Ship will be used and enjoyed by the Lodge membership for many years to come.