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Re: Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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No ancient ship of fools, 12 set out to prove

Saturday, June 09, 2007
By LYSA CHEN
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The Abora III - built according to ancient rock drawings - is, quite literally, a stick boat, and it is on this vessel, modeled on a prehistoric design, that a crew of 12 hopes to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

The 42-foot-long, 12-ton boat, strapped to cranes which lowered it into the Hudson River from the Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City for the first time yesterday, was still lacking the sail it would need to make its grand voyage. But proudly displayed atop the ship was a German flag.

Dominique Gorlitz, helping with last-minute preparations for the boat's launch, was standing next to the boat in a neon orange Abora III T-shirt and black pin-striped pants.

Gorlitz, a botanist and experimental archeologist from Chemnitz, Germany, is the leader of Abora III's trans-Atlantic expedition, planned to set out early next month. The crew hopes to lend weight to their theory that people crossed the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and South America some 14,000 years ago.

This claim is disputed by many experts, and similar voyages in the past have failed.

Norman Baker, navigator of reed boats similar to Abora III, said yesterday that his voyage on a reed boat, Ra I, failed and the crew spent eight days waiting for rescue. Ra II was more successful but only completed a one-way trip, he said.

"We arrived with only 12 hours of buoyancy," Baker said. "They told us to come back to the dock. Our ship was sinking, and this was after weeks."

But Gorlitz and his crew need to complete a round trip to show that intercontinental trade was possible in prehistoric times.

While the crew may enjoy a few luxuries of the modern era - a Global Positioning System, for example - other changes since ancient times may pose a threat to the success of the voyage.

The biggest concern for the crew is container ships, which could collide with Abora III if proper precautions are not taken, Gorlitz said.

"We will need to have our own good watch system," he said. "We need to make sure we always have someone at the front of the boat watching out."

After a traditional christening ceremony by Fermin Limachi, a native Bolivian Aymara Indian from Lake Titicaca, where the boat was built according to ancient traditions, Abora III was lowered slowly and steadily into the water.

As the boat hit the water, sirens from nearby fire trucks rang out, and members of the crew climbed aboard to dance on top of the boat. Gorlitz raised his two thumbs into the air.

The vessel, towed by a speedboat, inched its way down the harbor to the dock where it will spend the next few weeks while the crew makes some last-minute changes and practices sailing up and down the Hudson.

Posted on: 2007/6/9 9:21
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Re: Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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The vessel is in the water and all they need to do is install a mast and sails.
It sure does look like someone from Gilligan's Island. The vessel is moored at the Marina, just after the Marin Blvd Light-Rail station on the east side.

Well worth a trip with the kids to have a look.

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Posted on: 2007/6/9 7:03
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Re: Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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This thing looks like a rolled-up mattress.

I hope that the US Coast Guard won't have to pull their asses out of the water.

North Atlantic can be pretty mean even in the summer.

I wish them luck.

Posted on: 2007/5/8 17:10
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Re: Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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I don't get it, Thor Heyerdahl did this in the "Ra" 37 years ago, I read his books as a teen (Kon Tiki was better).

This must be the aquatic silly season, the NY Times had an article today about some crazy swiss who arrived here in a solar panel powered electric boat. I got news for them, they're several millennia late for the solar powered, zero carbon, boat game. It's called "sailing" and worked a hell of a lot better, not mention more elegantly. In the 117 days they took to cross the Middle Atlantic a 1000 ton clipper could be in China round Cape Horn.

Posted on: 2007/5/8 16:00
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Re: Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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this is actually pretty interesting. while it can't prove anything it certainly could say its plausable.


"nicotine and cocaine inside the mummy"

ahh good old ramsy that wild and crazy guy.

Posted on: 2007/5/8 14:08
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Re: Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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Quote:

sinik wrote:

Yeah, I read the article but I missed the bit that 'proves' it.


This effort is incapable of proving anything one way or the other. And if there really were some trade connection between the Egyptians and the American Indians, there would be other evidence in the historical record and legend on both sides of the ocean. It's a big risk for no practical reason.

Still, it's fun to try stuff like this. Just to see if maybe it's so.

Posted on: 2007/5/8 12:53
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Re: Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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I met some German dudes at the Cinco de Mayo party who were affiliated with this. It was cool to see their enthusiasm. It was also a trip to see tourists in JC wandering around, taking pictures. They probably thought it was a really cool place with the big street festival going on the first day they arrived.

Posted on: 2007/5/8 12:47
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Re: Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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An image to the article - Travel south on Marin Blvd and you will see it at the Marina.

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Posted on: 2007/5/8 11:49
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Re: Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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Quote:

GrovePath wrote:
An ancient ship sails toward history
Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean


Yeah, I read the article but I missed the bit that 'proves' it.

Posted on: 2007/5/8 10:58
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Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean
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An ancient ship sails toward history
Vessel arrives here on trip to prove Vikings weren't 1st to cross ocean

Tuesday, May 08, 2007
By MAURA YATES
STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492, and before Leif Ericson and the Vikings made a splash with their longships, it's possible that humans were plying the briny on "long-distance business trips" thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

The trace amounts of nicotine and cocaine inside the mummy of Ramses II and the remains of tobacco beetles in Egyptian graves suggest that there was trading with inhabitants of the Americas, whose shipbuilding prowess might have equaled that of the ancient Egyptians.

Now, using exact specifications from ancient cave drawings, German archaeologist Dominique Goerlitz has had the Aymara Indians build him a boat of tightly rolled Peruvian reeds, including a historically accurate waterproof hull, that he intends to sail across the Atlantic this summer.

If he and his multinational team of up to a dozen crew members make it in one piece, the voyage has the potential to rewrite history books.

The first leg of the expedition began yesterday at the New York Container Terminal in Mariners Harbor, when the hull of the boat, called the ABORA 3, arrived by ship after assembly at Bolivia's Lake Titicaca.

It was taken by truck last night from Mariners Harbor to Liberty Harbor in Jersey City. There, the rest of the structure will be completed, the crew will practice sailing it, the supplies will be loaded, and the ABORA III will set sail in July.

The four-month-long voyage will take the crew to the Azores, then on to Cadiz, Spain, and finally to the Canary Islands, if all goes well.

The crew, including members from Germany, Spain, Norway, Bolivia and the U.S., will share cramped quarters aboard the 41-foot-long ship, which they will steer using "keelboards," long timber planks that are raised or lowered in the water depending on the desired direction.

The ABORA III will be alone on the expedition. There will be no support boats, or any accompaniment; just the crew, sufficient provisions to last the voyage, and a laptop to request help in case of emergency.

According to the expedition Web site, www.abora3.com, the vessel is named after a divine power of the Canary Islands, born at the moment the sky and sun merge at sunset, and a protector of lives and travels. It also comes from the Egyptian word Abo-Ra, which means "Father of the Sun God Ra."

"I hope we keep it complete until the end," said Michael Gruenert, who handles logistics for the project. "If an SOS call is sent, there might be somebody around to help us."

But the crew isn't worried. "Mainly they hope for the best," he said. "We'll be the first guys who will succeed."

Maura Yates is a news reporter for the Advance. She may be reached at myates@siadvance.com.

Posted on: 2007/5/8 9:22
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