Viking (barque)

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The Viking (better known by her Swedish name, Barken Viking) is a four-masted steel barque, built in 1906 by Burmeister & Wain in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is reported to be the biggest sailing ship ever built in Scandinavia.

Barken Viking was originally built as a sail training ship for the rapidly growing Danish merchant fleet. At that time, seaworthiness and cargo capacity were given top priority. One day in July of 1909, while carrying a full cargo of wheat from Australia, Captain Niels Clausen recorded a speed record in the ship's log: 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h).

On February the 25th 1917, she was sighted and boarded by the German commerce raider Seeadler. Unusually, the Germans then allowed her to proceed because being Danish, she was a neutral ship. This was something of a lucky escape, because within weeks Germany would return to unrestricted marine warfare, a tactic that would have meant sinking her.

In 1929 she was registered under the Finnish flag, and joined the Ă…land-based Erikson fleet of tall ships. She was part of Erikson's fleet until 1950. She was about to be scrapped in the late 1940s, but was eventually saved by the Swedish government in 1950. Because of the low bridges that separate the tall ship from the open sea, it is unlikely she ever will sail the open seas again.

She participated in several of the Great Grain Races from Victoria, Australia to Falmouth, Cornwall. Barken Viking won the Grain Race of 1948.

There are only ten four-masted...
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