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Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history

Kon-Tiki - short history





ABORA III

Latest news September 11, 2007

The ABORA III concludes its journey.

After sailing more than 2000 nautical miles across the Atlantic aboard the reed boat ABORA III, Dominique Görlitz has called an end to his archaeological experiment. He and his crew of 10 set out from New York City harbour on July 11, and spent 56 days at sea. A series of storms and gale-force winds broke the boat apart a week ago, providing a challenging learning opportunity for the scientist and his crew. Although they did not reach the Azores, Görlitz sees the project as a success.

“We have collected a large bank of empirical data and hands-on experiences that further help us to understand pre-historic seafaring and trade. Our trip has not been easy, and in the end a gale broke the make-shift rudder that we were forced to craft after an earlier storm stole my stern and damaged the original twin rudders. The incident gave us an understanding of how ancient sailors could have coped with such dramatic challenges, but now, unable to craft a new rudder due to lack of spare parts we have chosen to accept assistance from another ship.” stated Görlitz.

Working on his Ph.D. in botany, Görlitz towed bags of seeds behind his vessel. He intends to examine them with a team of scientists at the University of Bonn and the Institute for Plant Research and Genetics at Gatersleben. Traces of two new world plants, tobacco and coca, have been found in the mummy of Ramses II. If seeds from these plants cannot germinate after floating across the Atalntic, then it would suggest that they were brought back by trans-Atlantic seafarers.

On Wednesday the crew dismantled the boat, taking off all equipment as well as pieces of the boat for exhibition purposes. They boarded the sailboat, which originally was chartered to bring a ZDF camera crew to film the ABORA III.

The ABORA III was also a social experiment of sorts, bringing together 11 people from four nations ranging in age from 21 to 63. The team exhibited strong teamwork during times of treacherous seas as well as during times of calm.

“Observing the individuals grow together as a crew was a pleasant experience, and I am also proud to have been able to provide them with a lifelong experience.” said Görlitz.

The ABORA III team will arrive in Horta, Fajal, Azores at around 1:00 pm on Monday September, 10th.

The ABORA III is the prehistoric reed boat skippered by botanist Dominique Görlitz. Based on the expedition, Mr. Görlitz is investigating the need to re-write naval history in his Ph.D. at the University of Bonn, Germany. His thesis is that intercontinental journeys happened thousands of years before both Columbus and the Vikings.

www.abora3.com

 

North-Atlantic, 38° 33’ N, 43° 56’ W
Severe Storms Batter ABORA III:
Reconstruction at Sea

Six hundred miles west of the Azores, Dominique Görlitz and crew are trying to rebuild their vessel after being battered by two heavy storms, the last of which was a large cyclone lasting over three days. These storms caused a good deal of damage to the portside rudder and broke the stern end of the vessel off in its entirety.

At the moment, the multi-national crew has stabilized the situation by tightening the spiral-ropes that hold the reed-rolls together. The sailors feel confident that the ship will neither sink nor disintegrate further.
Görlitz has developed designs for a new rudder and a different trim of the mast, both based on ancient Egyptian rock drawings, in hopes that these modifications will allow them to continue in their journey to the Azores.

The work will progress further during the day, and Görlitz expects to keep working for another day or two before being able to sail his vessel. His comments are: “First of all, I’m very proud of the crew who has all done a marvelous job during our crisis. Second, although saddened by what happened to our proud-looking ABORA III, I’m glad to confirm what I always believed: Reed-boats are incredibly safe. Even after loosing 25% of the ship we are still floating safely. No other ancient watercraft than a reed boat would have this kind of seaworthiness.”
The weather in the area has improved since the incident, at the moment all forecasts predict the prevailing anti-cyclone surrounding the Azores to return and stabilize, bringing favorable mild northerly or westerly winds to the sailors of ABORA III.
The ABORA III is the prehistoric reed boat skippered by botanist Dominique Görlitz. Based on the expedition, Mr. Görlitz investigates a need to re-write naval history in his Ph.D. at the University of Bonn, Germany. His thesis is that intercontinental journeys happened thousands of years before both Columbus and the Vikings.

www.ABORA3.com
Contact: Dominique Görlitz; 00353 912 896 815 or dominique.goerlitz@t-online.de


Latest news August 22 - 2007

ABORA 3 - Surviving the Storm and
Celebrating 50% Covered Distance to the Azores

Surprised by a Beaufort 10 storm Mid-Atlantic skipper and experimental archaeologist Dominique Görlitz faith in his prehistoric reed-boat has been verified. The storm challenged the now experienced crew of the vessel. Here is Mr. Görlitz recollection of the events:

“The weather forecast predicted only a strong breeze, and as we negotiated near gale just the previous day we all felt much at ease as we maintained one reef in our 60 square meter sail. At shift change at 2pm a situation developed that put the whole crew at its toughest challenge so far. I gave the order to decrease sail area immediately. Four sailors pulled on the sail to get it down, without being able to move it as much as an inch. I monitored the wind increasing to 37 knots, our plan on putting in the second reef at 30 knots wind already outdated. The winds kept growing, now with gusts of 48 knots - we are in a storm, was my first thought!

I looked to the yard and masthead, glad at least that we had one reef in the big sail, but saw at the same time something I had never expected: The sail starting to tear apart in several places. “Cut the sheet”, I screamed to Ingo, who immediately cut it and we finally got the sail down.

We quickly reefed the sail to a small cloth, which enabled us to manoeuvre the boat. As waves grew to small mountains of water I tried to estimate their size. They were clearly the biggest I have ever seen, some of them rose higher than the 11,5 meters of the mast. Some started breaking, surfing ABORA 3 along, and we could all appreciate the reed-boat-effect as the vessel floated nicely and flexible on top of most waves. Any water that landed on deck sipped out true the non-waterproof hull. I would never trade that effect for any other vessel in a storm on any ocean.

After the storm the crew could again enjoy the adventurous life at sea; surrounded by killer whales, mantas and sea turtles bound for the same destination: The Azores. During the weekend they all celebrated that they had reached the mid point between New York and the Azores, with 1050 nautical miles (ca 2000km) to either destination. The party meal consisted of fish soup accompanied by a single magnum bottle of white wine, with canned fruit for dessert. Fish being a familiar part of the nutrition on board were as the wine was a rare luxury.

Mr. Görlitz expects to reach favourable winds within the next 100-some miles as the ABORA 3 approach the stable anticyclone of the Azores and its stable westerly winds. A welcome change for all crewmembers who has spent the first part of the journey facing mostly unfavourable wind-directions, proving the ability of the pre-historic vessels to sail against the winds in the process.

The ABORA III is the prehistoric reed boat skippered by botanist Dominique Görlitz. Based on the expedition, Mr. Görlitz investigates a need to re-write naval history in his Ph.D. at the University of Bonn, Germany. His thesis is that intercontinental journeys happened thousands of years before both Columbus and the Vikings.

www.abora3.com

ABORA III Makes Good Headway Towards the Gulf Stream

The prehistoric reed boat ABORA III, skippered by scientist Dominique Görlitz, is well on its way from New York into the Gulf Stream, on one of this summer’s most unique events. Görlitz and his ten person crew are sailing from the U.S. to Spain using a boat constructed from a Stone Age design. Since its July 11th departure from New York City, the boat has travelled 188 miles into the Atlantic.

“I expect to reach the fast westerly current within the next few days,” says Görlitz.

So far, the trip has been eventful. Waves have been reaching 10 feet and winds have been blowing up to 17 knots per hour. Handling the fragile boat demands conservative judgment. Last night, Görlitz had no choice but to partly lower the sail in order to temporarily reduce the speed of the ABORA III. The boat performed well in the challenging conditions, but left many a crewmember sleepless as ABORA III rolled heavily in the waves. Helmsman and former Mount Everest-skier, Tormod Granheim, worked the rudder through the night.

Three broken lee-boards may prove an additional challenge for the team as they approach the Azores. The damage also provided a more immediate challenge for the ABORA III’s diver, Sabrina Lorenz, who had the task of diving beneath the boat and untangling a mass of ropes which had become tangled due to the damaged lee-boards. Of a total of 14, 11 lee-boards rest intact, and Görlitz has decided to decrease the draft of his lee-boards in order to ease the stress on these items. The lee-boards are an essential part of the ABORA III’s design; without them the vessel would only be able to sail downwind.

The crew has found their rhythm in making the transatlantic journey back to the Old World. They work six hours, rest six hours and have six hours off-duty before going back on watch. But being off-duty also means lending a hand to the many tasks onboard the ABORA III, including maintenance, fishing and cooking. Markus Uhlig has caught the first fish, big enough to provide dinner for all sailors on the ABORA III. Not only was this the first fish caught aboard the ABORA III (hopefully the first of many) but it was also the first fish that was caught on any of the ABORA expeditions.

The last 24 hours have also provided many rich animal encounters, as the ABORA III team has spotted a grey whale as well as several dolphins.

Since starting out from New York City, the ABORA III has sailed a South-Easterly course, averaging 40 nautical miles a day. Once entering the Gulf Stream, Görlitz expects the boat’s speed to approach 4 knots, with a daily progress of about 70 nautical miles.

The ABORA III is the prehistoric reed boat skippered by experimental archaeologist and botanist Dominique Görlitz. Based on the expedition, Mr. Görlitz is investigating the need to re-write naval history for his Ph.D. at the University of Bonn in Germany. His thesis is that intercontinental journeys happened thousands of years before both Columbus and the Vikings.

www.abora3.com