Heyerdahl sails papyrus boat

Heyerdahl sails papyrus boat

The Ra II, a papyrus sailing vessel constructed by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, sets sail across the Atlantic on this day. In 1969, a replica of an ancient Egyptian vessel was constructed of papyrus reeds by Heyerdahl to test his theory that the ancient Egyptians were the first to sail to America. The Ra, which left Morocco for Central America in May 1969, foundered 600 miles short of its goal, but Heyerdahl immediately started work on a new papyrus boat. On May 17, 1970, the Ra II left Morocco and proved seaworthy enough to transport a multinational crew across the Atlantic Ocean in 57 days.