Projects: Les Bátar – Viking Boat
Hailing from France, the remarkable group known as Les Bátar is passionately working towards a ground-breaking endeavour: constructing the world’s fastest longship. Their ambitious goal? To embark on an extraordinary voyage across the seas, setting sail towards New York.
Founded in 2011 as a non-profit organisation, they have been dedicated to the reconstruction of Viking long ships. Over the years, building two remarkable vessels, staying true to their original design. What began with just four individuals has now grown into a vibrant community of 300 people actively contributing to the cause.
Their primary objective is to construct these ships with utmost efficiency, whilst respecting the environment. They strive to recreate the sailing experience of the 9th-11th centuries, paying homage to the traditions of that Viking era.
“Les Bátar contacted us in 2018, when we started with WEST SYSTEM. They were starting to build a drakkar. I was enthused by these young engineering students who wanted to build a 12-meter drakkar-type boat in Toulouse, inland from France. They had created a line of office furniture to finance their project, and made their woodworking machinery (CNC saws, etc.) from plywood. Adventurers for the 21st century. What they lacked was epoxy and knowledge of this type of resin. So we went to see them in Toulouse with Richard Ross. A few kilos of West System 105 resin later, they were off to sea. Today, they’re building a new 28-meter-long drakkar. We came on board their new project, because you don’t change a winning team”. – David, our French distributor from Directeck
We had the opportunity to speak with Arnaud Fossorier, the Vice President, who provided us with a comprehensive overview of the Les Bátar project…
Tell us a bit about your background?
When we initially formed the association, we were a group of teenagers with a shared passion. Over time, we pursued our individual paths and became engineers specialising in various fields. As we started our mission, we formed partnerships with experienced boat builders and museums who possess extensive knowledge in traditional boat building techniques. We want to build upon their expertise and strive for greater efficiency than ever before.
What is the plan?
In 2025, we have set our sights on crossing the Atlantic to New York. To ensure a successful voyage, thorough preparation in every department is essential. The selection process for the crew will commence next year, closely followed by the necessary training. We aim to assemble a team of 35 individuals who will join us on this challenging expedition. This team will be divided among 3 ships, with approximately 11 or 12 people on each vessel. Among the crew, we will have 1 captain to steer our course and 1 chef to keep us well-fed during the journey. Half of the remaining crew members will consist of skilled professional sailors, while the other half will receive training in Viking techniques.
Our plan is to complete the challenge in 45 days, taking into account the weather conditions. We are motivated by the record set by Norwegian adventurer Stein Hoff, who successfully completed a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean in 2019, accomplishing the journey in just 70 days. We aspire to break his record and make our own mark in this exhilarating adventure.
What are the features of the boat?
The boat, named Orkan, boasts impressive specifications. It stretches 28 metres in length and spans 6 metres in width. Its mast stands tall at 16 metres, while its sail spans a generous 187 square metres. With an estimated weight of 16 tons and a draft of approximately 2 meters, Orkan exudes stability and power. It is projected to reach a speed of around 18 knots, ensuring swift and exhilarating journeys.
In terms of propulsion, Orkan will be equipped with four electric motors. These motors will be powered by batteries that not only drive the boat but also serve as a significant portion of its ballast. This innovative design contributes to the boat’s efficiency and overall performance.
Orkan’s captivating 3D design will be based on plans inspired by the Gokstad, an ancient wreck discovered over a century ago. To bring this design to life, we will utilise our CNC machine to precisely fabricate the boat’s components. We will employ pine, birch, and chestnut plywood boards for most parts, enhancing both strength and aesthetics. Additionally, select elements will be crafted from solid oak, imparting a touch of elegance.
To fortify the hull and protect it from the elements, we will employ a fiberglass covering, expertly layered with epoxy. We utilised WEST SYSTEM 105 Epoxy Resin® in conjunction with the WEST SYSTEM 205 Fast Hardener® for the initial application. Additionally, for the hull, we opted for the 207 Special Clear Coating Hardener® to ensure optimal results. This meticulous process ensures durability and longevity, allowing Orkan to brave the open waters with confidence. “It gives wonderful results” – Arnaud Fossorier
By combining cutting-edge technology, traditional craftsmanship, and a rich history, the Orkan will emerge as a true masterpiece, seamlessly blending form, and function for an unparalleled sailing experience.
What advice would you give to anyone else wanting to reconstruct a similar boat?
I suggest visiting the Roskilde Museum in Denmark to gain inspiration and ideas by exploring where similar boats have been built. It can provide you with valuable insights and spark your creativity. It’s a fantastic place to witness the whole process and watch the construction in action. At first, there may be some trial and error involved, but that’s just part of the learning process. Lastly, it’s important to persevere and not give up on the process.
Watch this video to see what it’s like to sail with the crew on one of their Viking ships ‘Fyr’.
If you would like to donate to Les Bátar please click the following link: https://batar.fr/faire-un-don/
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