Maritime Publisher Aims to Set a Yachting Record in Southern Ocean

Courtesy M/V Astra

Published Nov 24, 2021 10:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

Iain Macneil, the CEO of maritime publishing house Witherbys, is set to embark on a record-setting voyage in December. With a crew of five, he plans to attempt a circumnavigation via the Southern Capes onboard Astra, a 77-foot rescue boat that served with the Swedish Sea Rescue Service between 1995 and 2016.

If successful, the voyage will set a new record as the first "round the world circumnavigation (via the Capes) on an owner/skippered full displacement motorboat of less than 24 meters," according to the sponsors.

On December 1, the expedition will leave the Canary Islands, where the team has been conducting sea trials and preparing for the voyage. It will finish there about five months and 25,000 nautical miles later.

Astra's planned route (M/V Astra)

The planned route will take Astra south of every cape in the Southern Ocean - the Cape of Good Hope; Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia; South East Cape in Tasmania; South Cape in New Zealand; and Cape Horn. The route will spend much of its time in the Roaring Forties and Furious Fifties, far from the calmer latitudes frequented by most small-yacht circumnavigation voyages. 

“I have been considering the challenge of a circumnavigation for a long time and especially over the past five years since I turned my attention to smaller craft, following a career on large cargo ships and tankers," said Iain Macneil. "Having now owned Astra for one complete year, spending 10 months operating and overseeing her maintenance and sailing her over 9,000 nm, I can honestly say I believe I have the most capable 24m motor vessel in the world."