Olaf T. Engvig, originally from Rissa, Norway,
holds a graduate degree in maritime history from the University of Oslo.
He is internationally
known for his lifelong commitment to saving and protecting historic boats and ships.
He has received numerous grants and quite a few special awards for his
ship preservation accomplishments, including the Saint Olaf's Medal from King Olav V of
Norway and the Gold Medal of Merit from King Harald V of Norway for his work saving
and restoring historic vessels.
Olaf Engvig has Published a New Hardcover Book - Available in English and Norwegian!
The Ships That Built the West: The Scandinavian Navy, WAPAMA and VÆRDALEN
After completing the
restoration of the VÆRDALEN in 2015,
Olaf Engvig worked hard to finish a long-awaited book on the
Scandinavian Navy's positive impact on the Pacific Coast, the sailing history of the WAPAMA and sad tale of her last years
and Olaf's decades-long quest to salvage and restore the historic vessel, the VÆRDALEN.
The VÆRDALEN, a Norwegian hybrid ship with a sail and a small steam engine driving the propeller,
is now the sole survivor representing the famed fleet of lumber carriers named the Scandinavian Navy.
Engvig's latest book is full of stories of the maritime history of numerous Scandinavian ships, captains, sailors
and how they helped build the U.S. west coast.
Olaf Engvig's The Ships That Built the West is available in both English and Norwegian.
Both books are hard cover and contain great photos and illustrations.
The Ships That Built the West is the winner of
the 9th Karl Kortum Maritime History Award,
a program of the Friends of Pacific Maritime History, (formerly the Friends of the San Francisco Maritime Museum Library).
This honor has been publicized by the National Maritime Historical Society at their
- Learn more about Engvig's book The Ships That Built the West: The Scandinavian Navy, WAPAMA and VÆRDALEN.
- See more photos of the VÆRDALEN.
- Purchase any of Olaf Engvig's books.
Legends in Sail
For the first time, the stories of some of the world's
most famous ships are published in English. The memory
of Norway's great days in sail has faded due to language
issues. Almost none of this information has been available
internationally, until now.
Legends in Sail is a beautifully illustrated book detailing
the history of legendary ships whose reputation will live
forever. They traveled worldwide, and gained fame for
many reasons. Education, expeditions, film and adventure
are key words in their saga. They set unbeatable records
and helped discover the last unmapped areas of the planet.
Even to this day they inspire all who seek challenges and
new exciting adventures.
We invite you to learn more about Legends in Sail, Olaf T. Engvig's latest book about sailing ships and maritime history.
Viking to Victorian: Exploring the Use of Iron in Ship Building
Engvig's previous book, Viking to Victorian: Exploring the Use of Iron in Ship Building,
details how wrought iron was used in Norwegian Viking ships, as well as ships built from
iron, such as the STAR OF INDIA, S/S HANSTEEN, FALLS OF CLYDE, ELISSA, AF CHAPMAN
and many other vessels of importance to maritime history and shipbuilding.
This volume on ship building also includes an exciting account of Engvig's square sailing in his
Viking longboat HITRA across the North Sea, navigating as the Vikings did, without modern navigational instruments.
Additionally, he explores various other aspects of iron ship preservation of special interest,
especially now that TITANIC's iron rivets are discussed among maritime history buffs.
Engvig sheds light on the use of Viking gilden vanes and that the Vikings set up
shipyards in America a thousand years ago.
Learn more about
"Viking to Victorian: Exploring the Use of Iron in Ship Building",
and read reviews from maritime and book experts.
2015 Outstanding Scandinavian American Award
The Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation has awarded Olaf Engvig the 2015 Outstanding Scandinavian American Award! They cite his "dedication to the restoration and preservation of
historic Norwegian ships and boats, and to [his] efforts to document and disseminate Scandinavian maritime history through books and magazine articles [he has] written."
You can read Elaine Williams' letter that informed Olaf Engvig of his award.
Plus, you can
see the invitation to the Outstanding Scandinavian American Award event.
Olaf Engvig has a Cand. Philol. (graduate) degree in Maritime History from the University of Oslo.
In addition, he
Olaf Engvig currently resides in Southern California with his family.
- has a CMAS 1st Class scuba diving certificate;
- has a US Army OGMS rocket specialist education;
- is a RNoAF lieutenant (retired);
- has a graduate Degree in maritime history and a master mariners license;
- is an experienced square sailor; and
- has written several books and many articles.