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Students build a Viking ship and launch it

Marina High's wood shop students move the authentic Viking ship Valhalla towards the Sunset Aquatic Marina boat launch after years of building and crafting the boat in class.

Marina High’s wood shop students move the authentic Viking ship Valhalla towards the Sunset Aquatic Marina boat launch after years of building and crafting the boat in class.

(Don Leach / Huntington Beach Independent)

The hard work of dozens of Marina High School students and their woodwork teacher paid off Friday when the group set sail for the first time on a Viking ship they built together.

Bob Meade, who led the effort and has been a woodwork teacher at the Huntington Beach school for six years, said he has been building ships for years on his own but that this was one of the largest he created and the first he’s made with his students.

Since September 2014, he and his students have studied original Norwegian blueprints for Viking ships — the school’s mascot is a Viking — collected money, gathered wood and constructed the 30-foot-long ship behind Meade’s classroom.

The project cost more than $3,500, with most of the money being spent on the plywood and polyurethane. Meade’s classes built and sold lifeguard chairs to help fund the construction, and the school’s art classes designed and painted the shields.

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The Marina High School Education Foundation donated $1,200, Ganahl Lumber gave $100 and boating supply company West Marine offered Meade a 60% discount on all purchases.

On Friday, when the boat was launched for the first time, it made two trips of a half-mile each around the Sunset Aquatic Marina. Each time, a couple dozen students and several faculty members worked to steer the vessel.

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Meade said it was a good team-building exercise.

“The rowing was all encompassing,” he said. “Everyone was trying to get in sync with each other. They really had to work together. I think that’s something I didn’t expect ... the ability for this particular activity to develop so much teamwork.”

The boat will remain a fixture at the high school, Meade said, and perhaps make the rounds in city parades. He also plans to take the boat into the ocean within two years, with planned stops at the Queen Mary in Long Beach and Catalina Island.

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Times Community News reporter Anthony Clark Carpio contributed to this report.

brittany.woolsey@latimes.com

Twitter: @BrittanyWoolsey

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