Monday, April 30, 2012

Ole Brude's Lifeboat

If you read Jeff Sauve's Titanic feature in the April issue of Viking, then you've already heard about Norwegian sea captain Ole Brude and his unusual egg-shaped lifeboats. Since the article was published, I've enjoyed hearing from readers on this topic and learning more about Brude.

Brude believed his steel, egg-shaped vessels—modeled after his boat he called Uræd, or fearless—were an improvement over the wooden lifeboats of the day. To prove its seaworthiness, Brude and three other Norwegians crossed the Atlantic in the Uræd in 1904. Despite the crew's successful journey and Brude's efforts to sell his "unsinkable" lifeboats to steamship lines, only 23 of his boats were produced. However, his design did become a forerunner for today's enclosed lifeboats, found on ships throughout the world.

Next time you're in Ålesund, be sure to stop in at the Aalesunds Museum, where you can see the Uræd on display. The museum has also published a book about Brude's incredible five-month journeyUræd: The Egg that crossed the Atlantic, by Ole M. Ellefsen.

UPDATE: The Aalesund Museum is offering the English version of Uræd: The Egg That Crossed the Atlantic to Sons of Norway members for $20. Contact

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.
Photo courtesy of Aalesund's Museum.

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