Azerbaijan International

Winter 2006 (14.4)

Pacific Voyage
Guara Boards




23. When Heyerdahl made his 1947 Kon-Tiki voyage, he did not understand the mechanism of "guara" in steering the raft. Kon-Tiki had four "guara" that were "fixed", and which could not be raised or lowered.

It meant that his crew was entirely at the mercy of the winds. Years later (1953), Heyerdahl learned how the "guara" should have been used. The diagrams here illustrate his understanding of how the boards should be raised or lowered under specific wind conditions to stay on the desired course. The Tangaroa (2006) had nine guara, and its crew learned to steer the craft quite effectively, which resulted in cutting down their stay at sea by a substantial number of days.

llustration: "Early Man and the Ocean: A Search for the Beginnings of Navigation and Seaborne Civilizations," by Thor Heyerdahl, Vintage Books: New York, 1980, page 227.

25-28. Various sketches to show placement of the nine "guara" centerboards on the Tangaroa.

29. A 17th century drawing of a balsa raft under full sail off the coast of Peru. Note the placement of the "guaras" highlighted here in yellow (Photoshop).

30. A drawing dated 1748 by Juan and Ulloa showing a balsa raft from Guayaquil [Ecuador]. Note the "guara" centerboards, again highlighted in yellow here, and the tall guara at the back of the raft, which seems to also double as a rudder. Illustration: "Early Man and the Ocean," page 227.


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