"So far, the ABORA III has sailed a South-Easterly course, averaging 40 nautical miles a day, and the crew plan to approach 4 knots, with a daily progress of about 70 nautical miles, once they enter the Gulf Stream." (Click to enlarge).
After skiing off Everest I wanted to try something completely different, said Tormod, who lost partner Tomas Olsson on his May 2006 skiing expedition shortly after summiting. Sailing the craft will be a challenge, but I'm even more curious as to how the multicultural crew will perform." Images courtesy of Tormod's blog (click to enlarge).
Abora III expedition: Everest extreme skier Tormod Granheim to cross North Atlantic in boat made of reeds

Posted: Jul 20, 2007 06:02 pm EDT
(TheOceans.net) Vikings sailed and rowed to Greenland, and probably America, in tiny ships long before Columbus. Thor Heyerdahl showed it possible that Egyptians crossed the Atlantic on a papyrus boat to Central America, teaching the locals how to build pyramids. Now, another Norwegian, well known to ExWeb's climbing community Everest extreme skier Tormod Granheim, is out to prove that intercontinental journeys happened thousands of years before both Columbus and the Vikings.

Columbus' trip - the other way

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Now a ten-person crew including Tormod and led by Dominique Gorlitz is out to prove that others may have taken that historic intercontinental voyage far before Columbus up to 14,000 years ago by crossing the North Atlantic in a prehistoric-style boat made of reeds.

Gorlitz and his crew left port in New York City bound for Spain in the ABORA III, a boat made from reeds harvested at Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Since its July 11 departure, the boat has traveled 188 miles into the Atlantic.

The prevailing opinion is that the North Atlantic passage was not possible 14,000 years ago, Gorlitz says. And if the return journey from the Americas into the Old World was impossible, so too was regular commerce between the two continents. But every assumption is valid only when the opposite is proven to be untrue.

The very old business of cigars and cocaine...

Gorlitz posits that regular trade was being conducted between the Old and New worlds, pointing to evidence such as the discorvery of the same cultivated plants on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as traces of nicotine and cocaine (substances that had only become popular after Columbus returned to the Old World) found in the mummy of Ramses II in Egypt.

Aside from the heady implications the completion of their voyage could entail, first the crew needs to deal with the crossing itself.

Waves have been reaching 10 feet and winds have been blowing up to 17 knots per hour, the crew reported this week. 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.

Everest skier Tormod Granheim: "After Everest I wanted to try something different"

Gorlitzs ten-person crew ranges in age from 23 to 63, and has members hailing from Germany, France, Norway, Cuba and the U.S. The team boasts various impressive backgrounds, including the trained botanist, former CEO, scientific scuba diver and Everest skier Tormod Granheim.

After skiing off Everest I wanted to try something completely different, said Tormod, who lost partner Tomas Olsson on his May 2006 skiing expedition shortly after summiting. Sailing the craft will be a challenge, but I'm even more curious as to how the multicultural crew will perform."

So far, the ABORA III has sailed a South-Easterly course, averaging 40 nautical miles a day, and the crew plan to approach 4 knots, with a daily progress of about 70 nautical miles, once they enter the Gulf Stream.

The ABORA III is a prehistoric reed boat skippered by experimental archaeologist and botanist Dominique Görlitz and sailing from New York to Spain. Based on the expedition, 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.

Gorlitz posits that regular trade was being conducted between the Old and New worlds, pointing to evidence such as the discorvery of the same cultivated plants on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as traces of nicotine and cocaine (substances that had only become popular after Columbus returned to the Old World) found in the mummy of Ramses II in Egypt.

The most remarkable example of this originates from the Cueva del Castillo in northern Spain, dating back to 12,000 BCE, he said. It refers to the Canary Islands Gulf Stream System, a downwind course much easier than sailing in the windy Mediterranean. Even the types of stylized boats used to cross the Atlantic from East to West with the North Equatorial Current, as well as from West to East on the Gulf Stream, are clearly depicted. The dotted circles on the left most likely refer to the Caribbean Current, from which the Gulf Stream rises.



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