Best transatlantic reed boat dry-docked near the Hudson (2008)

Abora III

What's 39 feet long, 13 feet wide, and weighs 10 tons? It's not Michael Bloomberg's ego—it's the Abora III, which spent a few weeks this past summer parked at the midtown area on the Hudson (near the Circle Line). German archaeologist Dominique Görlitz is trying to prove that transatlantic water travel was possible 14,000 years ago (predating Columbus) by replicating a similar journey today. He started out in Bolivia, where it took two months to cut, dry, and then intricately bundle and tie together 12 tons of reeds to create a waterproof hull. Then it took an additional six weeks to transport it on a flat-rack container driven over the South American mountains, two ships to travel to and then through the Panama Canal, and a third ship to finish the trip to Newark—after which a truck made the final trip to carry it to the river here. Once in Gotham, the Abora III was outfitted with a mast, rudders, cabins, storage rooms, and a rest room. But Görlitz and crew aren't total Luddites—they had radios, radar, and satellite phones on board for safety and to track data as they spent the next two months attempting to reach Spain—before storms and gale-force winds broke apart the boat at the end of August. (All crew members were unhurt, and Görlitz plans on constructing the Abora IV soon.) It's all admirable enough, though not as comfortable as a cruise ship.


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