Coming from a family of shipbuilders from the Westman Islands, Gunar Marel Eggertsson claims to be a direct descendant of Leifur Eiríkisson.
Captain Eggertsson decided to fulfill his life long dream to sail a Viking ship transatlantic and built an exact replica of the Gokstad. The all-glass building of the Víkingaheimar (Viking World Museum) houses the Íslendingur Viking ship, which made its journey from Iceland to North America in 2000.
Íslendingur measures 22.5 meters in length, 5.3 meters in breadth, has a draw of 1.7 meters and weighs 80 tons. She was built of 18 tons of Norwegian and Swedish oak and required 5,000 iron nails. Her sail was made in Denmark. Her crew complement is 9; the Gokstad ship carried 70. Her average speed is 7 knots, top speed 18 knots. She is equipped with an engine for occasional use but is otherwise an authentic copy, made with ancient techniques.
Íslendingur is suspended one and a half metres in the air so that visitors can walk underneath her hull and see the workmanship.
The museum also houses the exhibition "Vikings - The North Atlantic Saga" from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. This exhibition sheds light into the Norse settlement and explorations of unknown lands.
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