TORONTO, June 14, 2016 /CNW/ - More than 1,000 years after Vikings landed in Newfoundland, a courageous crew of sailors from around the world have returned to Canada, after a harrowing trip across the North Atlantic. On Sunday April 26, the world's largest Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre, left her homeport in Haugesund, Norway on a journey that took her to Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. The great ship will join the fleet of international tall ships in Toronto for the Redpath Waterfront Festival presented by PortsToronto from July 1 to 3. People can tour the Draken Harald Hårfagre and the tall ship El Galeón which is a reconstruction of a 16th century Spanish galleon that was part of Spain's West Indies fleet. Both ships along with the Pride of Baltimore II, will be docked in HTO Park all weekend and for a nominal fee visitors will be allowed to tour these vessels.
"Our goal for two years has been for the Draken Harald Hårfagre to make the historical voyage to Newfoundland and we have succeeded!" states Björn Ahlander, captain of Draken Harald Hårfagre. "May is the best month to make this voyage as it is mainly easterly, northerly and southeasterly winds, whereas the rest of the year westerly winds are most common. We sailed to Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland, and now the historical part of the journey is over; we are now sailing down the St. Lawrence River on our way to the Redpath Waterfront Festival in Toronto."
Draken is crewed by 32 sailors from Norway, Sweden, USA, Canada (Jeff Lievre, Vancouver Island), Estonia, Russia, Spain, France and the UK, all of who were chosen from over 4,000 male and female applicants worldwide. Early into the voyage, the Draken ran into some trouble crossing the North Sea between Norway and the Shetland Islands after a shroud broke during the crossing. A large crane was used to remove the entire mast and rig from the ship as crew members worked to make and tar a new shroud before fitting it back onto the mast. Draken Harald Hårfagre is 114 ft long and has an oak hull, a Douglas fir mast, hemp rigging and a 260 square metre silk sail. If there is not enough wind, Draken Harald Hårfagre is equipped with 50 oars that take two oarsmen per oar to row.
"Even with the wet and cold, the crew is still in good spirits, everybody works together like a family," adds Ahlander. "I have sailed on many larger ships and I am impressed that the waves don't come over the deck, it's mostly just spray. She is quick, with average speeds of over 8 knots and at times we have peaked 11 knots. She has withstood all types of weather. The stretch from Greenland to Newfoundland has been the toughest; we have endured heavy gales, icebergs, breaking waves and a stretch with no wind at all. In one of these gales, we spent more than a day in survival suits which were too bulky to fit in our sleeping bags, so it was very, very cold in the tent and the crew was extremely uncomfortable."
BE INSPIRED BY THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY
Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the decks of two of the Navy's 55-metre Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels, Her Majesty's Canadian Ships (HMCS) Kingston and Goose Bay, throughout the weekend for FREE. Early risers can come to Harbour Square Park and join the Navy for a fun and motivating 5km run along the Martin Goodman Trail, July 1 and 2 at 8:30 a.m. Then, test your fitness levels at the RWF fun Ship Shape Obstacle Course that happens all weekend long. Crews from the participating ships will compete against each other and the Navy as well as Toronto Fire, Toronto Police, The Argo Cheerleaders and more. Two selected Navy Chefs will compete in the Urban Fresh Navy Cook Off sponsored by Sobeys on Saturday July 2 in Harbour Square Park from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. These Naval Chefs, one from each coast, will go head-to-head in a heated competition judged by a panel of experts including past Masterchef Canada winner, Chef Eric Chong.
Harbour Square Park will also have five additional ships docked: O Canada, an around the world, one person, racing yacht, and four Brigantines: STV Fair Jeanne (Ottawa), St. Lawrence II (Kingston), TS Playfair (Toronto), and STV Pathfinder (Toronto).
DISCOVER ARTISANAL GIFTS AND SAVOUR FRESH FOODS AT THE WATERFRONT ARTISAN MARKET
After the resounding success at RWF last year, the Waterfront Artisan Market (WAM) presented by The Waterfront BIA in partnership with Toronto Market Company (TMCo), returns to HTO Park with a carefully curated mix of 50 top local artisans, crafters, chefs and bakers. Browse and shop for finely crafted jewelry, unique works of art, delicious foods and artisanal gifts. Those who are looking to discover food will find more than 20 cook on-site food vendors.
ENCOUNTER POP-UP ENTERTAINMENT ALONG THE WATERFRONT
Bringing the best entertainment to the waterfront, Toronto street performers will engage and amaze on the Rees and Simcoe Wave Decks with fun and interactive shows all weekend long. Get ready for nonstop entertainment on the Argos Stage in HTO Park as each star ship showcases their country's heritage through various scheduled performances.
WATCH THE GRAND FINALE PARADE OF SAIL AT TORONTO'S WATERFRONT
On July 3, the final day of the festival, there will be a Grand Finale Parade of Sail at 4:00 p.m. with all participating ships plus unique local vessels. The ships will tour the harbour and then sail along Toronto's dock wall from west to east. Previous RWF Parade of Sails have attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators along the entire stretch of Toronto's waterfront.
2016 Redpath Waterfront Festival partners include Redpath Sugar, PortsToronto, The Waterfront BIA, Toronto Argonauts, CNW (Canada Newswire), Sobeys, Bell Media and Toronto Star among others.
The Redpath Waterfront Festival is an annual summer event providing on-land and on-water programming for people of all ages and interests, with the goal of promoting Toronto locally and internationally as a premiere waterfront destination. With music, food, nautical programs and entertainment, the festival offers something for everyone to enjoy. Every three years, the event welcomes majestic TALL SHIPS® to Toronto. www.TOwaterfrontfest.com
SOURCE Redpath Waterfront Festival
Video with caption: "Video: A courageous crew of 32 sailors from around the world set sail aboard the world's largest Viking ship, Draken Harald Hårfagre, on April 24th from Haugesund, Norway. Draken Harald Hårfagre and her crew took the challenge of crossing the North Atlantic Ocean, taking the same route the original Vikings travelled 1,000 years ago from Norway to Iceland to Greenland and finally Canada. The great ship will be joining the fleet of international tall ships in Toronto for the Redpath Waterfront Festival July 1 to 3. For further details visit www.towaterfrontfest.com". Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMu-2nOwr5g
Image with caption: "More than 1,000 years after Vikings landed in Newfoundland, a courageous crew of sailors from around the world have returned to Canada, after a harrowing trip across the North Atlantic. The world’s largest Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre, left her homeport in Haugesund, Norway on a journey that took her to Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. The great ship will join the fleet of international tall ships in Toronto for the Redpath Waterfront Festival presented by PortsToronto. www.TOwaterfrontfesst.com (CNW Group/Redpath Waterfront Festival)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160614_C2546_PHOTO_EN_714457.jpg
Image with caption: "Step back in time aboard El Galeón, a breathtaking reconstruction of a 16th century Spanish galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet. The El Galeón is open to the public at the Redpath Waterfront Festival for tours at HTO Park from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday July 1 and 2 and on July 3 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Visit www.TOwaterfrontfest.com for more details. (CNW Group/Redpath Waterfront Festival)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160614_C2546_PHOTO_EN_714450.jpg
Image with caption: "Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the decks of two of the Royal Canadian Navy's (RCN) 55-metre coastal defence vessels, Her Majesty's Canadian Ships (HMCS) Kingston and HMCS Goose Bay, throughout the weekend at the Redpath Waterfront Festival - July 1-3. www.TOwaterfrontfest.com (CNW Group/Redpath Waterfront Festival)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160614_C2546_PHOTO_EN_714451.jpg
For further information: For information on the Redpath Waterfront Festival, contact: Peggy Sheffield/Peggy Sheffield & Associates Inc., Office: 416 246 0474, Cell and text 416 822 8511, [email protected]