Sailors' Library

The Kon-Tiki Expedition

By Thor Heyerdahl

Published by: George Allen & Unwin (17th Edition 1952)

Once they dropped the tow rope, the six-man crew of Kon-Tiki, the 45ft square-rigged raft made of balsa wood logs lashed together, knew there was no way back. The unhandy raft would only blow downwind and drift down current, but skipper Thor Heyerdahl was convinced his 4,300-mile journey from Callao, Peru to the islands of Polynesia had been carried out centuries beforehand.

This is their story and is full of adventure: a man overboard, a visit by a huge whale, and stormy seas that swept the raft.

After 101 days on the back of the Humboldt Current, Kon-Tiki was wrecked on a reef-forming part of Raroia an island in the Polynesia group.

I’ve never forgotten this book which my mother, Nancy, bought for my sailing father, but which, as a child, I read and re-read, studying the black & white photographs of the strange, bearded crew and imagining my bed as a balsa raft. It became an international best-seller and was translated into 70 different languages. 

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