Viking ship cuts voyage short due to Lakes pilotage fees

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The following is the text of a news release from the Draken Harald Harfagre expedition:

(GREEN BAY, Wis.) (Aug. 5) — Draken Harald Harfagre is now on her way to Green Bay, Wis., for the Tall Ship Festival in the port of Green Bay. We are so happy and grateful we made it all the way from Norway, across the North Atlantic Ocean, through the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the Great Lakes; it has been a modern Viking voyage. The ship and her crew navigated through the rough seas, ice, extreme temperatures and all the storms along the way. We couldn’t be more proud of this accomplishment.

In collaboration with the District 3 Western Great Lakes Pilot Association, we recalculated the estimated cost for pilotage for our expedition and have reduced the amount from $430,000 to $250,000. This was accomplished by using current pricing tables from each of the Great Lakes districts, while working closely with our District 3 pilot to calculate a speed, route plan and timetable that is safe and works with the design of our ship. Even with this significant reduction in cost, we have not been able to raise enough funds to complete our entire expedition. So it is with a heavy heart that Viking Kings, the organization behind the Draken Harald Harfagre project, has come to the decision to make the Tall Ships Festival in Green Bay the last stop in this Tall Ships Challenge.

Over the last few months, we have made many new friends and received help and support from our pilots, the United States Coast Guard, Transport Canada, Sons of Norway, all of the ports, Tall Ships America, the Nordic community of Chicago and from our loyal, enthusiastic fans. Despite all of the hurdles, we made it this far! Thanks to you, Draken and her crew have been able to meet thousands of people and share our story in the ports of Fairport Harbor, Bay City, Chicago and now Green Bay.

All funds contributed to date will pay the pilotage fees Draken has incurred as she sailed through the Great Lakes. Because the Draken team has decided to end its Tall Ships journey in Green Bay, Sons of Norway will end its online fundraising campaign effective immediately. Draken Harald Harfagre and Sons of Norway deeply appreciates the strong outpouring of support and contributions that put wind in the Draken’s sails for several ports and would like to thank all donors who invested in the Draken’s journey.

We are very happy to have made it this far; at one point it looked like we were not going to be able to sail the Great Lakes at all. But, at this point, we are very sad not to sail all the way to Duluth, it is one of the stops where the Scandinavian communities has been the strongest and most involved with promoting and engaging in our ship from the very beginning, and it is a disappointment not to be able to sail all the way. We have had the most amazing time sailing this expedition, meeting all the people and visiting all these places, said Capt. Bjorn Ahlander.

The ship will now re-plan her route and find her way out of the Great Lakes. The new route will be released as soon as possible. Draken will visit New York in the middle of September as planned.

The following is the text of news release from the Lakes Pilots Association:

By Professional Mariner Staff