Mast Support - Photo © William Murphy, 11 May 2008
The mast of the Viking Longship was designed in such a way that it could be removed or 'unsteped'. Rigging would have secured the mast in order to stabilize it from the strain of the fully set sail which may have been in excess of 330 square feet. The mast itself may have risen to a height of 60 feet or more. The mast was held in place by two large blocks of wood. One block level with the deck and the other attached to the keel. These blocks were firmly secured with iron bands and nails. The mast was set in position by passing it through the top block until it came to rest in a socket in the lower block. The mast was then locked into position with a large rectangular piece of wood.

See Also

Medieval Shipping
History of Navigation

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