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San Marcos sailor builds a Viking ship

In 2024, 76-year-old Tom Kottmeier will 'ship his ship' to Sweden and sail her into Stockholm Harbor.

VISTA, Calif. —
Looking for a summertime backyard project? You might consider building a fence, or if you want to go a little bit bigger maybe a Viking ship? In this Zevely Zone, I met a San Marcos sailor taking on one whale of a project. 

When Tom Kottmeier was a teenager, he built his first boat. Now, at the age of seventy-six, he is supersizing his passion. "I'm building a Viking ship, ha, ha, ha. Sometimes I wake in the morning and say I'm building a Viking ship," said Tom.

Credit: CBS 8

Tom loves to sail and working with wood. Combine those passions with his Swedish heritage and his ship Sleipnir was born straight out of Norse Mythology. "Sleipnir was the god Oden's magical eight-legged winged horse. Eight legs. Winged. Horse," said Tom.  

Credit: CBS 8

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The sailboat is 33 feet long. Tom could have built a bigger boat, but he needs it to fit inside a 40-foot shipping container. Copper rivets hold the long planks  together. How many rivets? "1,500 rivets," said Tom while hammering another one in. Sleipnir will be powered by a sail hung from a 28-foot mast and eight oars. For the past two and half years, Tom has worked five days a week. Every now and then he laughs at himself. "Because it's kind of a joke I mean who says I am going to build a Viking ship? But I did," said Tom.  Just like the Vikings did in 800 AD. "That is 1200 years ago," said Tom. "Everyone thinks I'm crazy, ha, ha, ha. They think I'm crazy but that is okay. I think I'm crazy."

Credit: CBS 8

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Tom's maiden voyage will be at San Diego Bay. "I hope to be sailing sometime this summer," said Tom. Then in 2024, Tom will 'ship his ship' to Sweden. "My ultimate goal is to sail her into Stockholm Harbor which is where my family comes from," said Tom. I can only imagine Tom sailing into Stockholm screaming, "I'm the king of the world!!" Or maybe he'll arrive with something a little more understated. He sang a possible tune for me, "Row, row, row your boat all the way to Sweden, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream."

 You can follow Tom's journey by clicking on his website here. 

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