These clinker-built ships are far superior to contemporary enemies in speed, maneuverability, and flexibility.
Throughout the Viking period, Scandinavians dominated the northern seas of Europe thanks to their exceptional ships. Equipped with a mast, square sail, oars, and lateral rudder, their structure offered speed, easy handling, and above all the possibility to sail in all conditions. These were clinker-built boats with overlapping edges and little draft, which made them flexible and capable of navigating on the open sea or up rivers. Of these vessels, the langskip or “long ship” referred to a warship. Longer and narrower, which had minimal freeboards for easy disembarking. They could carry on average between 40 and 60 sailor-warriors, although some sagas tell of langskips with crews of up to 300 men. Building such huge vessels was a considerable investment, and the langskip was a sign of their owner’s prestige.