Olaf Engvig, author, maritime historian, lecturer, coastal skipper, ship restorer and preserver.   The Ships That Built the West: The Scandinavian Navy, WAPAMA and VAERDALEN The Ships That Built the West: The Scandinavian Navy, WAPAMA and VÆRDALEN

Olaf Engvig has published English and Norwegian editions of his new hardcover book: The Ships That Built the West: The Scandinavian Navy, WAPAMA and VÆRDALEN. Read stories of the "Scandinavian Navy" and its impact on the U.S. Pacific coast, and two very different tales of two historic ships. Learn more!

Olaf Engvig's home page. Olaf Engvig's expertise. Olaf Engvig's publications. Olaf Engvig - Small Boats. Olaf Engvig - Ships. Olaf Engvig - Morris Minor. Olaf Engvig - Nike. Olaf Engvig - Author's Notes. Contact Olaf Engvig.

Windjammer book. CHRISTIAN RADICH became the star of the movie Windjammer.

Front cover of the booklet made for the 1958 movie Windjammer. This documentary film, the first presentation done using CINEMIRACLE, provided good depth perspective and excitement while telling the story of a training cruise of the CHRISTIAN RADICH.

CINEMIRACLE technology turned out to be too complicated and expensive, but audiences thrilled to the sea rushing in over the bow, causing them to instinctively pull back in their seats to prevent the imaginary waves from hitting them in their faces.

The film was directed by Louis de Rochemont III.

Olaf T. Engvig's book Legends in Sail. Norway's sailing history.
Olaf T. Engvig: Legends in Sail. Tales of Norwegian sailing ships; great maritime history.

Olaf Engvig is a noted maritime researcher, especially regarding Norwegian ships. While researching some of his previous maritime articles and books, Olaf Engvig discovered that Norway's distinguished maritime history was not well known outside of Norway. Much of the documentation and scholarly maritime research of the accomplishments of Norwegian ships and their seamen are written in Norwegian, making more widespread knowledge a challenge. Engvig is hoping that his book Legends in Sail, an expanded and redesigned version of his Norwegian book Legendariske Skuter, will help alleviate this situation.

Engvig's admiration for the men and machines of sailing's past and his passion for the preservation of ships and their history are quite clear in this book of legendary ships. He hopes you'll share some of his awe and love of these majestic sailing ships, full of interesting stories and glimpses into our past.

Liberally laced with photos, paintings, maps and drawings, these visuals help take you back in time. You'll learn a lot even if you just read the captions, but they make you want to read more to learn the whole story.

Purchase Legends in Sail. 2013. Hardcover, 256 pages. $49.95

* * Email Olaf Engvig at olafengvig@earthlink.net for an unbeatable special on 10 copies of his book Legends in Sail. Perfect for gifts!

Legends in Sail
Book Reviews

We invite you to read reviews of Legends in Sail by respected maritime historians.

James P. Delgado is Director of NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program, author of over 32 book, was co-host of The Sea Hunters, and has a founding membership in the International Commission on Monuments and Site (ICOMOS) committee on underwater cultural heritage. He reviewed Olaf Engvig's book Legends in Sail in Sea History (National Maritime Historical Society's magazine), Spring 2014 edition, No. 146, page 51. You can learn more about Sea History magazine in general.

Marifrances Trivelli is Director of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. Previously Ms. Trivelli was Curator at Los Angeles Maritime Museum, and Cataloguer / Collections Research Curatorial Department at Mystic Seaport Museum. We invite you to learn more about the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

Corioli Souter is Curator, Department of Maritime Archaeology at Western Australian Museum in Perth, Australia. Learn more about the Western Australian Museum.

Reviews by Mr. Delgado, Ms. Trivelli and Ms. Souter are on our Legends in Sail review page.

Purchase Legends in Sail. 2013. Hardcover, 256 pages. $49.95

Legends in Sail
Amundsen and his team at Polheim. Table of Contents

GJØA - The Conqueror
CHRISTIANIA - Training Vessel 1877 to 1903
TRANSATLANTIC ex Mersey - Cargo Carrying Sail Training Ship
LANCING - The Speeding Legend of Sail
LINGARD - Saved, Restored and Scrapped
FRAM - The Most Famous Ship
MAUD - The Queen of the Ice

You may not be familiar with these ship names, but each has a unique and interesting story to tell. Here are just a few notes about these sailing legends.

GJØA - The Conqueror
Olaf Engvig starts the book with Roald Amundsen's 69 foot sloop GJØA. Amundsen is still known as one of the world's foremost polar explorers. He and his 6 man crew endured a 3-year, arduous journey with GJØA to discover the Northwest Passage.
GJOA shown as a painting under full sail.
So many expeditions had tried and failed to find a way to shorten the route between the Far East and the North Atlantic that Roald Amundsen had difficulty finding funding. But he was determined, and after promising to find the magnetic North Pole, he received international attention and expedition funding to purchase the GJØA in 1901.

The GJØA had been wrecked years before; she had sunk off the coast of northern Norway when she was 10 years old. The wreck had been sold twice, but was repaired and already had a good track record as an Arctic trader. Amundsen did some ice-worthy testing and upgrades. Then, in June of 1903, Amundsen left Christiania Fjord in Norway to evade paying merchant bills and began his long and difficult exploratory journey.

Amundsen did indeed find the magnetic North Pole, and discovered that it was constantly moving. He and his men experienced many hardships with ice, reefs, rocks and more. Having found passage and thereby shortening trade routes by several thousand nautical miles, the first celebratory event for the explorers and their vessel was in Nome, Alaska. In October of 1906 they arrived in San Francisco, CA which was still in ruins due to its famous earthquake and resultant fires. But the GJØA enjoyed celebrity there for a while. Over time, however, she suffered a terrible decline from vandalization, fire and general neglect. Budgets, politics, historic concerns and pride eventually lead to the return of GJØA to Oslo, Norway in 1972.

STATSRAAD ERICHSEN - Oslo's first active sail training vessel for merchant marine cadets.


The Norwegian naval brig STATSRAAD ERICHSEN became Oslo's first active sail training vessel for cadets seeking a career in the merchant marine. Built of wood with only sails for propulsion, she sailed for 80 years. She was the last pure sailing ship with Oslo as home port.

LANCING - The Speeding Legend
This 4 mast, fully-rigged ship should be known as one of the fastest sailing vessels. She started sailing record breaking voyages when she was well past her prime.

Originally French, she was built as a sail steam ship in 1865. In Great Britain, she was converted to a sailing ship, and sometimes called a 'tramp sail ship', she sailed all over the world.

Amundsen tries to tame a polar bear cub.  The MAUD is in the background.

MAUD - The Queen of the Ice
Named for Queen Maud of Norway, MAUD was an Arctic expdition and research ship, the last representative of the golden era of Norwegian exploration. The MAUD spent her best years stuck in ice and the ramains of the ship still rest in shallow waters in Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island, frozen in ice much of the year.

In the photo (right), Amundsen feeds the polar bear cub named Marie, which he tried to tame so she could pull a sledge. Unfortunately Amundsen's experiment didn't turn out well, and the bear was put to sleep.The MAUD can be seen in the background.

You'll enjoy the tales of these and other legendary ships in Olaf Engvig's latest maritime history book.
Read reviews of Legends in Sail by maritime historians.
Purchase Legends in Sail. 2013. Hardcover, 256 pages. $49.95

Olaf T. Engvig     150 Chickasaw Street     Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: 818.266.5170     olafengvig@earthlink.net

New Hardcover Maritime History Book by Olaf Engvig
The Ships that Built the West: The Scandinavian Navy, WAPAMA and VÆRDALEN

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