Ancient Mariners Sailed A Homemade Raft Across The Atlantic

Sailing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic is quite an accomplishment, but what these guys did was a bit more daring. First, they built their own tiny raft out of pipes tied together, and second, the four sailors proved that age is not a limiting factor:

Talk about your ancient mariners! British adventurer Anthony Smith, 85, and a senior citizen crew have sailed their tiny raft, An-Tiki, some 3,000 miles from Portugal's Canary Islands to St. Martin in the Caribbean. They arrived this morning.

Smith and his three-man crew wanted to show what the elderly can do when they set their minds and hearts to it. [...]

According to the adventure newsletter Expedition News, Smith's latest escapde began more than three years ago when he placed the following advertisement in a London newspaper, The Daily Telegraph: "Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveler requires 3 crew. Must be OAP [Old Age Pensioner]. Serious adventurers only." He got hundreds of eager replies from men fed up with gardening and playing bridge with their wives.

Link | An-Tiki official website


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Somnambulist misses the point. Thor Heyerdahl was not 84, and Anthony Smith was not trying to outpace his efforts. He was merely attempting, successfully, to attemp something personal and tremendous. As a retired yacht builder I salut him.
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What this entry and the source article fail to mention is that Thor Heyerdahl already made this voyage in the 60's, in a boat made out of papyrus reeds. It was named Ra, after the Egyptian sun-god. He actually made two attempts, because of a structural problem with the first Ra. Ra II completed the journey, using only ancient Egyptian technology and not synthetic piping.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor_Heyerdahl#The_boats_Ra_and_Ra_II
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Kon-tiki is the name of an ancient inca god iirc. It was used as the name of Thor Heyerdahl's balsa raft, which he used to travel from Callao in Peru across the pacific to Polynesia. The distance he covered in 1947 was close to 5000 miles, which in my eyes dwarfs this expedition any day.

That being said, I think it's awesome that they did this, but I still think Kon-Tiki and Thor Heyerdahl should get an honorable mention in this post, since he was a real pioneer in the field of traveling across oceans using primitive rafts. To anyone interested in learning more about Kon-Tiki, I recommend this documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGooopCTmpg
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