Viking ship built with 15 million ice cream sticks Mon Aug 15, 9:51 AM ET
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A replica Viking ship made of 15 million ice cream sticks is to be launched in Amsterdam on Tuesday by a former Hollywood stuntman who hopes eventually to sail it across the Atlantic.
The 15-metre ship, which took Robert McDonald two years to build, is to be launched in Amsterdam harbour with a crew of around 25 in a bid to set a world record for the largest sailing ship made of ice cream sticks.
The Viking longship, equipped with oars and a mast, is built with sticks of birch-wood glued together painstakingly by McDonald and two volunteers in a Dutch workshop. It is to be put through its paces for around 90 minutes on Tuesday.
"It's a dream come true. It's truly worth all the hard work," McDonald said on Monday.
"I never want to look at glue again. I don't think I will be in a hurry to look at ice cream sticks again," said the 45-year-old from Jacksonville, Florida.
The ice cream sticks used to make the ship were provided by Unilever's ice cream maker OLA and by children who collected discarded sticks around the world.
McDonald, whose Sea Heart Foundation (www.seaheartship.com) helps provide leisure activities for children in hospitals, hopes to sail his Viking ship across the Atlantic next year.
"That's still the ultimate goal, to sail across the Atlantic in the Viking-style," McDonald said.
Christopher Columbus was acclaimed for centuries as the man who discovered America in 1492.
But in recent decades, more evidence has come to light showing that Icelander Leif Ericsson and the Vikings were the first Europeans to set foot on the American continent in the year 1,000.
Viking longboats let Norse warriors land, pillage and plunder large parts of Europe and sail off knowing that no other vessels could catch up.