Sunday, March 22, 2009

Viking Ship Regatta Weekend in Florida

Folks living near the Matanzas inlet down in St. Augustine, Fl, must have been rubbing their eyes and doing a few double-takes as they looked out onto the water this weekend. Normally a quiet waterway, this past weekend it was transformed into a regatta course for four 10th century viking ships! That's right, while celebrating its 35th anniversary this past weekend the Sons of Norway lodge in Jacksonville, FL played host to the annual Viking Ship Regatta.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the Lodge President Marci Larson on Saturday and she filled me in on all the festivities. The anniversary celebration began on Friday with a tour of the San Sebastian winery where everyone had the opprotunity to visit the oak room and be part of an elegant wine tasting. Then, later that evening, there was a VIP reception and dinner on one of the Jacksonville members' yacht, which was attended by Sons of Norway International board members and the captains of each viking ship entered into the regatta.

Next, Marcia told me about everything that was planned for today. The morning schedule was open so attendees could explore the beautiful area around St. Augustine. Then, there was a lunch at the White Lion. Once lunch was finished it was time for the Regatta!

Though the regatta had originally been planned to be held in the waters between Fort Matanzas and the Bridge of Lions, the weather had other ideas. The wind was kicking up too high for safe boating, especially during the rowing portion of the regatta, so it was decided that rather than scuttling this year's event an alternate location would be found. Within an hour or so Marcia and her team had a new location and course ready to go, this time just a couple miles north of the Vilano Bridge. With that, four teams from Sons of Norway lodges in Florida were underway. The teams represented this year were:
It turns out that Fraternal Director Eivind Heiberg and District Three International Director Barbara Berntsen were both rowing on the Viking World's boat, Valhalla. According to Eivind, it was a great experience and a lot of fun, even though his boat came in 4th place. The winner of this year's event was Gateway to Florida, with Gulfstream and Ft. Lauderdale taking 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

After the regatta there was a banquet for everyone who attended this year's event. Over 100 people showed up at the St. Sugustine Rod and Gun club for an exquisite dinner prepared by one of the world's best chef's and good friend to Sons of Norway, Willy Hansen. I've had the pleasure of sampling Willie's culinary magic in the past, so I'm sure the banquet was no less than spectacular.

Then, today, the regatta weekend wrapped up with a concert by famous Norwegian pianist, Knut Erik Jensen. The concert was held at St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, where Jensen played a number of songs by famous Norwegian musicians, as well as some not so famous. According to those in attendance it was a great concert because Jensen took time to explain the history of the music he was playing and explained the cultural and historical aspects of his performance. From everything I've heard, it was a great concert and a fitting end to Jensens current tour of the U.S.

So, there we have it. The regatta weekend has come to a close. But the fun isn't over yet! Come back tomorrow and check out the video we shot of the event! I'll have all sorts of links to videos from the entire weekend for you!

Until then, have a great Sunday!

1 comment:

Charlotte Jax. said...

We want to thank everyone who participated in the regatta. I have posted a slideshow on youtube for all to enjoy. The link is
Charlotte of Jacksonville lodge