The Klastad ship

A Viking workhorse

The Klastad ship is often referred to as Norway´s fourth Viking ship. It was discovered as early as in 1893, but not excavated before 1970. Today, the original ship is on display at the Slottsfjell Museum in Tonsberg – as the only Viking ship outside the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. 

The Klastad ship in the building prosess
The Klastad ship in the building prosess

Unlike the other three Viking ships, which were used for burials, the Klastad ship is the result of a ship wreck close to the coast in the southern part of Vestfold County. 

The Klastad ship differs from its “siblings” in many ways, mainly because she was built for trading, not for warfare or “show-off”. Our guides frequently explain the Oseberg and Gokstad ships as “the Ferraris” of their age – and refer to Klastad as the “Volvo Truck”, thus to underline the differences.

The launching of the Klastad ship “Saga Farmann” at Tønsberg Viking Festival 2018.

The main difference consists of a higher freeboard, allowing for carrying more cargo. Another main difference is that this is a ship almost solely built for sailing. Although similar in size to Oseberg and Gokstad she would carry a crew of only 5 – 7. The remaining space on board was reserved for cargo – including live cattle on occassion. This is the type of ship that the Vikings would have used on long sea voyages, across The Atlantic to Iceland, Greenland and even America!

A fantastic voyage

The Klastad ship was launched in September 2018. The event was followed by thousands of spectators – and many hundred thousands more watched the launch via national TV. The new ship was given the name Saga Farmann by lady sponsor Unni Ottosen. “Farmann” means Tradesman in old Norse, so the ship was named after the local king Bjørn Farmann, who lived just outside Tonsberg in the 10thcentury and was a renown trader. 

“Saga Farmann” is planning to sail around Europe

The ship was baptised by using water from the Bosporus Strait in Turkey, thus to symbolise the long voyage that lies ahead of her. During 2019 she will be equipped and tested and her crew trained. Then, in early summer of 2020, our intention is for her to start out on an expedition circumnavigating Europe! The first sailing season will all be along the Norwegian coast, then commencing into Russia, following rivers, lakes and canals all the way south to The Black Sea and Turkey, where she is intended to arrive in late 2022. 

After wintering in Istanbul, her voyage will continue across The Mediterranean before returning to her Tonsberg home, according to present schedule in the autumn of 2024.

Want to join us?

A crew of 5-6 skilled sailors will be on board the Saga Farmann during her voyage. An additional 10-12 paying passengers will be offered to join on each weeklong leg. The passengers should be prepared to give a hand in sailing and rowing and other work on board, and for a somewhat rough experience with not too much in the way of comfort. 

Some 2,500 people have already announced an interest to join by buying a “boarding pass” consisting of a folder with information and a unique Oseberg coin. Rates for each leg of the voyage will differ depending on circumstances and will be announced later. 

Interested? For buying a boarding pass, contact Knut Børge Knutsen: kbk@seeu.no