Roll Over, Thor Heyerdahl, Here Comes the Plastiki

The owner of the Plastiki, a 60-foot catamaran made mostly from recycled plastic, plans to sail it from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia. [Photo by Peter DaSilva/NYT]

When I was a kid, Thor Heyerdahl was the man. I must have heard a thousand faltering book reports on Kon-Tiki, Heyerdahl’s best-seller about sailing the eponymous balsa-wood raft across the Pacific Ocean to prove that Polynesians might have originated in South America.

Maybe millionaire David de Rothschild heard one of those book reports, too. Now comes the PLastiki, his New Age catamaran made out of “repurposed” water bottles(a.k.a. consumer garbage). I’m not sure what its voyage from San Francisco to Sydney will prove,  but I hope Plastiki sails by Fiji,  likely origin of some of those water bottles.

Plastiki’s crew will be live-blogging all the way, and of course, National Geographic will send along a videographer to document the adventure’s brand symbolism. Nike even gave the crew custom-made docksiders (are they made out of plastic water bottles, too? ). As Jesse Mckinley explains in the NYT:

While they say they are confident enough to sail without a trail boat, they have painted white crosses on the soles of the Nikes, a sailors’ tradition meant to ward of sharks and other sea monsters. [David de Rothschild’s] insoles have an image of a plastic bottle intertwined with a sword, a symbol of the mission… Read more

Thor Heyerdahl’s best-seller launched a thousand book reports when I was a kid.  Heyerdahl sailed the balsa raft Kon-Tiki across the South Pacific in 1947. [Photo source: Wikipedia]

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