As a child, Tour was afraid of water, and if anyone told him that he would sail the oceans on a small boat for several months, he would find this man insane. But life is rife of surprises, and after a successful expedition aboard the Kon-Tiki raft in 1947, when the traveler managed to pass 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean and reach the Tuamotu Islands from Peru, he planned to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The anthropologist Heyerdahl intended to stage an experiment proving that ancient seafarers could travel from Africa to America on sailboats taking advantage of the Canary current.
The first Ra was designed using drawings and models of boats from ancient Egypt and built of reed sourced from Lake Tana in Ethiopia. But the builders from Lake Chad had little knowledge of naval architecture, and Ra sailed to draw water from the stern soon after its departure from the coast of Morocco and then broke down completely. Bolivian Aymara Indians from Lake Titicaca proved to be far more experienced shipbuilders: Ra II sailed off the Moroccan city of Safi and finished in Barbados 57 days later, thus proving that the ancient Egyptians could well have sailed to the New World. Although adventure still awaited the seafarers: when the expedition (which, by the way, included the Soviet physician Yuri Senkevich) was joined by two beginners - Moroccan Madani Ait Ouhanni and Kei Ohara from Japan, it turned out that Madani gets seasick and Kei cannot swim.