The crowd spotted the brown hull of the 115 ft. Draken Longship off in the distance as she glided her way toward a dock at the marina at Portland Foreside, 58 Fore Street, yesterday afternoon. The crowd cheered her arrival on her fourth port visit on the East Coast City Tour of 2018.
The Draken (Dragon) motored into Portland using just one of her two engines with horsepower of 174. When she recently entered Rockland Harbor she tangled with an unanticipated number of lobster traps that fill up the Harbor – complicating navigation for boats of any species – especially those unfamiliar with the phenomenon of lobstering on the Maine coast. It appears that the entanglement with the lobster traps was not the reason for engine problems as previously reported herein.
Following the end of tours on Monday, the Draken will probably close down for several days to repair the engine said Erik Linforth, an United Airlines pilot who is on the crew for the next seventeen (17) days. He said that: “We haven’t found any boats of this length, but from stories passed down , we know they existed.” (See above right photo).
Following that, Draken is expected to go Salem, MA. with a possible stop in Boston as well.
The wooden Draken was built in Norway between 2010 – 2016. She was built by a Norwegian businessman, Sigurd Aase. She underwent sea trials and then some refitting ocurred based on that experience. Draken got such a warm welcome from the public in Norway, that the idea of coming to the East Coast of the US was hatched to educate the public about Norse history and their traditional ship building methods. She spent most of last year at Mystic Seaport, CT. for maintenance purposes following a long voyage from Norway.
The Draken came down the St. Lawrence, to Newfoundland, over to the Great Lakes, and through the Erie Canal to New York City and then down to Mystic Seaport.
Two of the many greeting the Draken yesterday were Mike Lemieux and Tom Sovey. Both live at nearby Seacoast Rehabilitation. Mike is a paraplegic due to a bike accident he suffered on the Eastern Promenade itself, not far from the Marina. That was five years ago. He’s paralyzed from his shoulders down, but is breathing totally on his own – an amazing feat given his situation! Interestingly though, Mike said that curative surgery is in the works. In fact, doctors are seeking FDA approval for spinal surgeries. Approval could come in the next several years. Mike is first on the Maine list to receive spinal surgery (probably in Boston) when it’s FDA approved.
His buddy, Tom, lives with Muscular Dystrophy also at Seacoast Rehabilitation. This is one of four strains of the disability and it is not fatal. Recently, he was at home in Brunswick. He survived a fire in his home fireplace from which he could not defend himself because of his lack of mobility. The resulting injuries to his limbs were devastating. Tom is currently looking for funding for someone who could care for him at home. (See above left photograph of both men).
You go guys! You are inspiring!
Incidentally, due to Ownership Intervention on my behalf, this blogger did not get arrested for trespassing by John Grover, property manager, as he threatened previously! (See prior post for more background information).
Tours of the Draken are available through Monday next week. The event is hosted by TallShipsPortland, Alex Agnew, although it is not a fundraiser for the non-profit that works to give young people opportunities on boats they would not otherwise enjoy.