But too other replicas have needed to make "improvements" because of bad experience or simply because of mistrust.
Two replicas of Skuldelev Wreck-1 with rudder /steer-oar for different purposes: ocean sailing versus museum sailing.
In relation to this, I dare say, that only a man with a fire in his heart as Thor Heyerdahl would venture to sail out on an ocean with a minimum of modern equipment to verify a scientific theory. He only brought with him a simple radio and a typewriter.
Of personnal, official or safety reasons you therefor can employ something more modern. All these natural but old-fashioned materials on an Inca Balsa raft you can improve or change out with something "better", more nice, more comfortable, more "convenient" - or more safe.
I am not talking about a pseudo-safety; that is for those people, who never dream to run a bike without bike-helmet, they are lost to the system - - - but we have to realize something about safety = avoid to provoke an unfortunate and disastrous occurrence. So don't leave without rescue equipment - our modern societies don't accept that type of loss - even more thrilling.
So it was then - so it still is - and so we want it to go on.
Statement from the time before the Sagas was written
Every hint about the name Kon-tiki is extremely useful for any press gimmick.
So if you only want to meet the sense of freedom on the sea, to escape from a chaotic world, to gain the adventure of your life, to "survive" as "survivor man", to feel as naval hero or whatever explanation you will use for your raid, then you can build your yacht-raft as you will, equip it, stuff it up with technology or the opposite, fill up your pantry - and then sail off.
And with that in mind I recommend to put much attention to the welfare and comfort and perhaps privacy of each 'cellmate' under this month long confinement.
Of the twenty log rafts as the last 70 years have headed out on the Pacific Ocean only 8 have reached their destination, and some in such a state that whey wouldn't have been able to return to their port of leave. So pay attention to BUOYANCY - and pay attention to Teredo Navalis, the Ship Worm.
In all historical time we have always impregnated our wooden hulls with tar. What they did in Inca-land is still not known
NOT treated saw-cuts >>>
Traditional Sisal-rope bindings on raft Kontiki2 >>>
The floaters we can weld, attach by fitting, lace or tie together. Not many modern men will rely on natural fibre ropes, as the Incas needed, they will prefer synthetical ropes. That is no secret that synthetical ropes hold a higher strength, they don't absorb water and are furthermore resistant against decomposition. Decomposition, in the mind of any modern sailor, easily exclude ropes of natural fibre incl. Sisal, Manila and Hemp and favour Nylon, Polyester, Polypropylene or better, and this includes steel-wire used for a standing rig. Therefor the most common concept today for tying logs together is: Synthetical ropes !
Even if the most 'original' rafts sailing out on the Pacific are using ropes of 'natural fibre', as they say, then that normally means sisal or manila, as in no way is material from South America - sisal from China of course.
The modern web-slings of man made synthetical fibers is too a resistant option for tying "trunks" together. We have seen it used.
Joining wooden trunks on rafts we sometimes "see" the logs nailed or bolted together to secure a reliable fixture. "See" is in quotation marks, because that type of fastener normally is normally covered discreetly by decorative rope-bindings. Fake or security - who is able or who dare to judge?
Fixation slot or not fixation for plunge-in Guaras /daggerboards
A not easy question in our technical world of today is, if we should make some well shaped fixations to plunge in the Guaras - or we should just plunge them in between the trunks as they do in Ecuador. The latest raft sailors have made special fixation slots.
It is a notable fact, that none of the Guara-fixation-rafts is reporting about any ability to do more than running for the wind and in best cases with broad reach. That we understand in the An-tiki case, where none of the brave men had any sail experience. Therefor they couldn't do nothing else than follow the trade wind over the Atlantic Ocean - just like a balloon does. That should be OK for non-experienced, but just in these first month of 2016 the Kontiki2 rafts are repeating the same experience, what is a little strange, because the crew in several years have had the old Tangaroa raft sailing in Norway - but without to learn how to tack against the wind, as they can in Ecuador?
An excuse probably is, that they can't plunge Guaras in here they need and their slots are not placed in right place. We are looking out for experience here, but give a proposal for Guara-slots.
Two replicas of Skuldelev Wreck-1 with rudder /steer-oar for different purposes: ocean sailing versus museum sailing.
Original rigging for balsa rafts is more or less unknown and unverified, so therefor we see types of sailing raft rigs coming in from all parts of the world. Seems more as a product of the captains own sail-culture, and therefore what he masters. Nordrøn square sails for Norwegians, Latin sail for Latins and probably Junk-rig for an Asian captain.
The Kontiki of Thor Heyerdahl was equipped with square sail and topsail on an A-mast. The next 60 years the most rafts in his wake too used same square rigging with same A-mast until - surprise - the latest Norwegian Kontiki2 rafts only mounted one pine mast type Nordland, as is original of their Nordic culture. Probably we have to wait many years before we will se a Norwegian sailor mount a Crab Claw sail on his raft - that isn't his culture nor nature.
For modern standing yacht-rigs are often used steel (stainless) wires or sometimes chains, and for the running rig: the flexible ropes. And all modern gear to handle ropes we can get easily from the yacht industry. Everything from blocks and sheaves to handle, fasten, tie, wind etc is at disposal - and is used. Even remote and servo controlled capstans and winches together with automated furling and reefing systems. Tested thoroughly, ready and reliable to use on every craft - too on log-rafts.
With modern maritime equipment as capstan, blocks and pulleys of metal or nylon, steel rig and perhaps a built wooden mast or one made of aluminum, with or without reefing system - then we will have a perfect sail craft, which will be loved by authorities as IMO, STCW, SOLAS, MARPOL and others, who should maintain a certain control on safety in professional and business navigation, and in the most cases at least have to issue the official permission to sail out. Those authorities today employ lawyers and engineers - but not sailors.
Sails today are made of material as Dacron or Duradon eventually sewn on a computer controlled machines with synthetical threads. They are lighter and easier to handle than sails of nature fibers as flax, cotton and hemp and don't decompose so easily. They are recommended.
Square sail is named by the old Spanish chroniclers and as mentioned it is often used on rafts, but no only, as Thor Heyerdahl point out. We frequently se rafts with stay-sails and topsails. The preference seems more or less the skippers taste or culture or what he has learned as child.
The square sail is known to need more hands to handle, and is therefor rarely seen on singlehanded crafts - whereas tall ships as school-ships, with many cadets to employ seems to prefer square sails.
The tent on last Kontiki2 of 2015
Recommendation: With the chance to spend several months on a raft of 100-200 square meters together with the same few men, that isn't the place to promote yourself as a hardcore guy - that you will need to be in all cases. You have to build up a reliable team and keep high morals. Put instead your attention on something to make the cruise comfortable and the life on board pleasant - and that include to give the maximum privacy as possible (own bed, own store-box, good cooking etc) and if your plan is to sail outside the warm-weather areas you have to turn them both warm and dry even when they get drenched -
The deck pod of An-tiki raft was made by bended corrugated metal plates. A cabin nice organized with its 4 bunks, just as on a luxury yacht. In no way as the earlier rafts, as showed up more as an improvised boy scout camp.
the internal of the cabin too is made comfortable >>>
Modern raft build with saw cut timber is loading fresh water for a long raid, before craned out in water. > > >
Note the roomy space under deck for cargo and supply, useful to store plastic bottles, as will go brittle in sun and then burst. We are told about 'reed raft vessels' as are without room under deck, and therefore storing their water-bottels on deck - with serious loss as result.
We are not aware that any pre-Columbian raft has carried bottled drinking water - but perhaps they did in some way. Perhaps in ceramic amphoras or in calabas /pumpkins.
Nevertheless, the pipe-raft An-tiki impressed us by the idea to use of some of the traverse tubes as fresh water tank.
If we want something more powerful to gain speed or for missing wind, we could cleverly bring with us two outboards or one bigger main, bearing in mind, that our raft hold a big central trunk, so a single drive therefor should be asymmetricaly placed, what is OK for outboards.
Outboards are very fine to a raft, because they too work as rudder. But if we mount a conventional motor hidden in the hut and a long shaft going down between the trunks, then we have to plan with a classic rudder, because the Guara system work together with sail and not will function with motor propulsion.
If our worry is fuel efficiency or storage for a long-distance raid, it probably is better with only a minor economical motor in combination with sail - a tiny outboard as a active rudder, a motorized oar for harbour manoeuvre - or as a truster, to restrain the leeway and make the raft beat higher to the wind.
For costal only sailing we don't need these instruments. Everybody can navigate along the coasts as Odysseus did.
On the other side, we with these electronic navigation equipments we will never miss a far island, as the old sailors could risk.
Don't forget that many west-going Vikings got sea-wild and passed south of Greenland - and of this reason they hit America 500 years before Columbus. They found Vinland and there they settled with some colonies. And of those sea-lost sailors some could find their way back and tell, what has happened - but only some - the rest disappeared - probably against south.
And to terminate: Listening to these old legends and sagas around Vikings, Columbus KNEW there was a land to find out far west, and therefor he set off from Portugal. His only mistake was that he thought it was India.
- easy to sail singlehanded
on the right photo: >>>
A well-equiped raft with satellite antenna, photo panels and a wind generator as are seen clearly on the Photo together with two life rafts and a life buoy
With a such electric installation we have no reason to bring with us kerosene-equipment as lanterns, stove or petromax lamp.
Old-timer cooking by firewood we have left many years ago except perhaps for a charcoal grill. All equipment we can make electric, and cooling of food and beers together with freezing of provisions we expect done as in every on-shore kitchen. The cooking itself we today probably will do by gas carried in cylinders.
These installations will make the cruise more comfortable and do no harm to the raft experience.
So take care of the galley and care about the cook. Don't forget that the cook is the most important person onboard.
Of further installations as could be nice to have are: a modern personal bathroom with water closet, hot and cold water installed together with a shower bath - but too a de-salinator for making drinking water out of seawater.
And if you have decided not to have a motor on your raft, then take at least some rather old-fashioned 5 meters long oars with you instead of paddles - exactly for harbor maneuveres and the near-coast-case, beaching and so. Oars are not inka-equipment but they work better.
Crossed the Atlantic Ocean 2011. This raft An-tiki gave the four mature "survivor-men" a wanted experience of waves and wind on an immense ocean.
An-tiki was a technical astonishing raft made of 4 supply water pipes of HDPE replacing the wooden trunks. The raft hold throughout technical constructions with many interesting details, as is demonstrated on photos - but didn't get famous for its seaworthiness. She was equiped with 4 Guaras, two stern-rudders and one steer-oar, and only the last worked - but no evidence is left - they didn't publish anything - how to navigate a raft by Guaras only, because probably they didn't. Result: One more ZERO experiment !
But studying their photos, it seems for example as the short distance from mast to forestay wouldn't permit an adequate adjustment of sail to go for a wind abeam. Too the forward daggerboards placed close to the mast, indicate that the raft was mostly build to sail with wind from behind. And that was what they did. Choosing the trade wind from Africa they didn't need more than run for the wind - or maximum broad reach - to land in Caribien. Just as the route of a balloon.