Kon-Tiki: 60 years ago

One my early introduction to the sea was Thor Heyerdahl’s account of Kon-Tiki.

Wired.com has revisited Kon-Tiki on her 60 th anniversary.  Here is a excerpt:

1947: Thor Heyerdahl and five crewmen leave Callao, Peru, on a balsa-wood raft. They’re hoping to prove that ancient South Americans could have sailed to Polynesia.

Heyerdahl was a Norwegian adventurer and ethnologist who crossed the boundaries of academic disciplines and ruffled plenty of feathers in the process. He theorized that South Americans had visited and traded with Polynesia, not that they were the primary population source. Scholars derided him and maintained that South American balsa-wood craft would get waterlogged and sink before they could cross the Pacific.

So Heyerdahl built the Kon-Tiki and named it after the pre-Inca sun god. The 18-by-45-foot deck was made of nine balsa trunks lashed with hemp rope. A 29-foot A-frame mast held a 15-by-18-foot mainsail and a topsail. The raft also had a mizzen sail and a long steering oar at the stern. A small cabin and some of the deck were made of bamboo. No metal was used in the construction.

The full wired aritlce is HERE.

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This post was written by Richard Rodriguez, Rescue Tug Captain, and US Coast Guard approved instructor for License Training. You can read more of his articles at the BitterEnd of the net.