Hjemkomst Viking Ship crew celebrates 40 years in Moorhead on Saturday – InForum
MOORHEAD – These crew members talk about Hjemkomst’s voyage like it was yesterday.
They are here at Moorhead as part of a weekend reunion and a chance to see the installation of a new interpretive facility telling the dramatic story. The story of Bob Asp’s ship has been told since the 1970s.
Bob Asp spent ten years building the Hjemkomst ship, from a warehouse in Hawley. He was able to see the ship launch in Duluth Harbor. But leukemia cost him his life before this crew sailed for Norway.
“We were in college, we had nothing better to do, I guess. It was awesome. It was life changing, a fantastic adventure,” said Jeff Solum, a crew member who was 20. years at the time.
The idea of this school counselor from Moorhead, to build a boat in a potato warehouse in Hawley. 100 oak trees, pruned in Rollag. And then, a dream that some thought was crazy. Sail the ship from Duluth to New York, then take a 30-day trip to Norway.
“One of the gifts to the crew was free life insurance, and I remember the day I filled out the beneficiary forms and wondered who would get the $5,000 if we were lost at sea,” said Paul Hesse, a member of the ship’s crew.
Mark Hilde was 29 when he sailed with the crew. Paul Hesse was 32 years old. Jeff Solum was 20.
They all remember what is simply called the storm. In the North Atlantic, in the middle of the voyage, he nearly shot down the ship.
“The 30 foot wave crashed over us and everyone started bailing out with buckets and we got the generator started the pumps and that’s when we found out there’s had a crack in the bottom,” said crew member Mark Hilde. .
Moorhead’s Lynn Halmrast made the trip to New York but stayed for the rest. His wife was expecting their first child.
“I’ll be a father, not a hero. And that’s okay,” Halmrast recalled telling a reporter as the ship sailed from New York to Norway.
Another crew member showed up at Moorhead on Friday for Saturday’s meeting. Bjorn Holtet from Narvik, Norway. All the shared stories of this motley group of sailors, many doubted but still celebrated today with a museum that never let Bob Asp’s dream die.
“You see these opportunities, you seize them,” Hilde said of the lessons learned from the trip.
You can meet the crew and view the newly renovated Ship Gallery space around the ship tomorrow from 1 p.m. at the Clay County Historical and Cultural Society, where the ship is on display.