It seems more fitting for a short leisurely trip around the Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City, where it has been docked for the last two months.
However, this boat made of reeds and wood will undertake an ambitious trip between July 8 and July 12.
The brainchild of German botanist and amateur sailor Dominique Göerlitz, the Abora III is set for a voyage to Spain to prove that goods could have been traded across the Atlantic Ocean thousands of years before Christopher Columbus or the Vikings crossed it.
Göerlitz is following in the footsteps of legendary Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who journeyed 3,800 miles in 1947 across the Pacific in a sailing vessel called Kon-Tiki to explore his belief that people from South America may have settled in Polynesia before Columbus.
The 42-foot-long, 12-ton Abora III's design was inspired by ancient rock drawings.
For this particular sailboat, the Aymara Indians at Lake Titicaca in Bolivia built the parts, which were then shipped to the United States and put together by Göerlitz and a team of volunteers.
A crew of 12 from five different countries has been selected for the trip.
Last week the Abora III, named for the father of the mythical sun god Ra, made several runs on the Hudson River, from the marina to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, to test how the boat will sail under various wind and water conditions.
Göerlitz was confident last week that his boat will hold up despite its archaic construction. He looked at a motorized boat docked nearby for comparison.
"If I took a trip in that [motorized] boat across the Atlantic, I would sink like the Titanic," Göerlitz said. "The inside of the Abora is filled in with reeds, not hollowed out like other boats, so water will not come in too easily."Like the ancestors
The boat is called Abora III because there were two previous Aboras, in 1999 and 2002, which were similar sailing vessels that Göerlitz created to test theories on ancient travel and exploration.
In this case, Göerlitz says is making his upcoming trip to prove insights about land rather than water.
In his research studies, he came across scientists' discoveries of traces of nicotine and cocaine in the mummy of Ramses II in Egypt. Both drugs were not popular until after Christopher Columbus returned to the Old World. Göerlitz also found that certain plant life in South America and Africa was not indigenous to those continents and originated in other areas. Thus, Göerlitz believes that ancient traders had transported those seeds.
"There is very good indication that these plant seeds came as people set sail across the Atlantic, as there are findings of African plants in America and Central American plants in Africa," Göerlitz said.
He consulted the ancestors' designs to construct the current boat.
"There were rock drawings done in Egypt as far as back as 6,000 years that show these types of boats," Göerlitz said. But unlike the ancient mariners that he and his crew are trying to emulate, the Abora III crew will have the latest navigation equipment on board to ensure their survival.
"This is not a kamikaze mission. While I am optimistic this boat could hold up, obviously I want to ensure the safety of everyone on the Abora," said Göerlitz. Not quite a pleasure boat
On a windy Monday afternoon, the Abora III sailed back into the dock at Liberty Harbor Marina. To prevent the boat from crashing into the dock, the crew dropped weighted bags into the water to help steer the ship safely.
One of the guests was Vladimir Drtmlyug, a Downtown Jersey City resident for over 25 years, who boarded the boat with his girlfriend.
A young sailor in his native Russia, Drtmlyug was an invited guest. He said the trip, his second on the Abora III, was "amazing."
"Today, it was a pleasure, but on Friday [June 22] with the winds, it was a bit scary," Drtmlyug said.
He added, "It's a lot of hard work for the crew, and I wish them nothing but the best of luck." Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com