Sebbe Als is a ship built on a real Viking warship found in Roskilde Fjord. It spends the harsh days of winter in The Naust (a low building at the water edge) on Augustenborg Fjord, during which time it is repaired and repainted. Every spring it is then put back into the water and taken to it berth in Augustenborg harbour, where it is docked for the summer season. Below is our experience of launching Sebbe back into its natural environment.
9:20: We arrive at The Naust. “Pirate” Kim is already busy preparing the ground for Sebbe’s exit. We find the other group members in the back room having their breakfast.
9:40: The troops are gathered in front of the Naust. Steen, the chairman of the independent society that owns and operates Sebbe (and its sister ship Ottar, which was launched a week earlier) welcomed everyone and we started getting ready for putting the ship into the water.
The first task involved lowering the ship onto pieces of wood over which it could then be rolled the 10m into the water. This is necessary as the ship is raised on wood during the winter. A lot of rocking, moving and balancing is required at this stage, though not much effort on the part of the general troops.
10:05: Sebbe is ready to roll. All the troop are aligned on each side, one at each oar hole. We are ready to push, pull and tug Sebbe over the rollers and into the sea. “En, tooo, TRE!” says Steen. A lot of huffing and puffing. But Sebbe refuses to move. We try a couple more times, before a slight change of tactic gets Sebbe rolling.
10:20: Sebbe decided to stop moving. Plan B is required. This involves the use of a pulley system to help us push Sebbe into the water. The pulley is set up
10:30: Plan B is ready to be put into action. The troops are back on each side of the boat. “En, to, TRE!”. After a couple of false starts Sebbe starts to slowly make its way close to the water. Until the pulley system starts breaking down.
10:45: We revert back to Plan A. Sebbe is halfway out of the Naust and are ready to head down the slight slope. While using the changed tactics used earlier, where the back of Sebbe is levered upwards as we push, Sebbe slowly makes its way towards the water.
11:00: Success! Sebbe is in the water. The time it has taken this year appears to be close to a record. The larger number of people helping out certainly helped. Sebbe is tied to the bridge off to the left while we all get a well-deserved drink.
11:20: Although the big job of pushing the boat into the water is done we still need to put in the fittings, including the floor boards and the oars. While we were busy relaxing “Pirate” Kim had already started, and soon the rest of us go to work carrying things from the Naust to the boat, while others sweep inside the Naust.
12:30: Sebbe is all together now! Another well-deserved break for lunch that two of the members had gone off to buy for all the rest of us. As befits a Danish lunch we had rugbrod with different toppings (and cake, of course!).
13:20: There is only the last job of the day left: getting Sebbe to its “summer home” in Augustenborg harbour. As the mast will be put up in the harbour we need to row it over to its berth. We all take our places and rowed it we did.
13:55: Sebbe is in its berth. Our day of Viking work is over.
Sebbe is berthed in Augustenborg harbour next to her sister, Ottar. You can see both of them as you cross the road on the bridge dividing the harbour.