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North House Folk School staff and others rally to give Hjørdis a lift

Often referenced as the flagship of the Grand Marais Harbor, North House Folk School’s Hjørdis had a holiday season to remember.

WTIP Station Manager Matthew Brown was enjoying lunch at Fisherman’s Daughter in Grand Marais when he noticed the Hjørdis sitting awkwardly in the water at the docks near the North House campus. Brown has a long history with the Hjørdis, serving as a former captain of the iconic watercraft.

At noon on Dec. 23, Brown went to the yellow building on the North House campus and notified staff that something was wrong with the Hjørdis. Phone calls were made. North House staff responded. And ultimately it was discovered the 50 ft. traditionally-rigged steel schooner was taking on water.

After the initial discovery of a water leak, a week’s worth of effort to preserve the Hjørdis unfolded. Pumps were brought in to remove the water. A temporary fix to stop the leak involved the use of a deflated bicycle tire tube. Small heaters were brought on board to start drying out the interior. And eventually, a large crane was brought up Highway 61 from the Twin Ports area to remove the Hjørdis from the icy waters of the Grand Marais Harbor.

The Hjørdis now sits on metal jack stands as well as a wood cribbing that was assembled by the North House team to hold the schooner until repairs can be made. North House is currently researching the necessary repairs, and plans to have Hjørdis sailing again for the 2022 season, according to staff at the Grand Marais folk school.

Looking back to Dec. 23, among the first to respond to the scene was North House Facility Director Matt Nesheim. He shares the story of what happened to the Hjørdis with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs. Audio below.