Book Review: Legendary author, Legends in Sail


Doug Warne
KKNW Scandinavian Hour

When a little group I was with visited the Louvre in Paris and went to the Scandinavian section, Barnes Varnes indicated how disappointed he was that there weren’t more pictures of the wonderful sailing ships of the Scandinavian countries.

Researcher and author Olaf Envig, in his introduction to Legends in Sail, also bemoans the fact that the wonderful and very large tradition of Norwegian sailing ships is so woefully missing in maritime history. He thought that the cause is simply that the history and the specifications of these sailing ships was all written in Norwegian, a language not widely used in the world. Engvig’s admiration for the men and machines of sailing’s past and his passion for the preservation of ships and their histories are quite clear in this book of legendary ships. He states that he hopes readers will share some of his awe and love of these majestic sailing ships. Legends in Sail is filled with interesting facts embedded in six stories about specific vessels that give glimpses into our past.

Engvig’s book on six of the most famous Norwegian sailing ships and their stories goes a long way to solve the problem of missing information on Norwegian sailing ships. Excellent research backed by attributions and clear writing make Legends in Sail a wonderful book for any Norwegian Club library and for those interested in the fascinating history of Norwegian Sail and why it lasted so long after the rest of the world moved ahead to steam and then oil propulsion. Amply laced with historical photos and artwork, the book is a fascinating adventure in reading.

Olaf T. Engvig holds a graduate degree in maritime history from the University of Oslo. He has written many maritime books, and is a former captain. Engvig has been instrumental in preserving actual historic ships, for which work he has received the St. Olav’s Medal from King Olav of Norway and His Majesty the King’s Gold Medal of Merit from King Harald of Norway, as well as, in 2015, the Outstanding Scandinavian American Award.

For further info or to purchase the book from the author, contact him at

Doug Warne is the host of The Scandinavian Hour, which has been a community fixture for over half a century in Seattle. He sponsors many scholarships through the Leif Erikson Lodge of Sons of Norway, and serves on the board of that organization. In 2012, he was named Person of the Year by the Seattle chapter of the NACC.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 22, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.