Old ship uses high tech nav gear

A replica 600BC wooden ship has rounded the Cape of Good Hope on its 17,000-mile epic voyage around Africa and beyond – with the help of state-of-the-art navigational equipment.

The Phoenicia is a primitive wooden vessel with a difference; it features the latest electronic navigational equipment from world-leading manufacturer of leisure marine electronics, Raymarine.

The vessel was built using traditional Phoenician construction methods and materials, and was designed using evidence from shipwrecks and archaeological finds and advice from scholars.

The Phoenicia expedition (www.phoenicia.org.uk ) was conceived by Philip Beale, a former British Royal Naval Officer and entrepreneur, and was launched from Syria in summer 2008. The voyage, which is approved by the Royal Geographical Society, is aiming to recreate the first circumnavigation of Africa which is thought to have been achieved by Phoenician mariners around 600BC.

Equipment on board Phoenicia includes a Raymarine C80 multifunction display, GPS antenna, Automatic Identification System receiver for navigational status, ST60+ tridata, wind system and repeater, DSM300 fish finder and Raymarine LifeTag wireless man overboard system.

On perhaps the most dangerous part of Phoenicia’s adventure, its international crew of up to 16 faced seven-metre waves and gale force winds, which tore their mainsail in two, but they courageously completed their journey round the Cape on Thursday 4 March.


To avoid the pirate zone, the ship took a long detour out towards the Chagos Archipelago, which meant that the leg from Beira, in Mozambique, took 11 days and covered 700 nautical miles.


Skipper and expedition leader Philip Beale says, “The Raymarine equipment was absolutely crucial in enabling us to successfully round the Cape.


“Sailing a sixth-Century BC Phoenician Ship around the Cape of Good Hope is a huge challenge in itself. We absolutely had to know where we were minute-by-minute and only Raymarine’s chartplotter was able to give us that level of confidence and navigational expertise.”


Phoenicia berthed at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, alongside other prestigious sailors including Dilip Donde, India’s first solo in-progress circumnavigator, where the vessel was on show to press and public. The voyage will continue up the west coast of Africa, through the Straits of Gibraltar, across the Mediterranean and back to Syria.  

Following the Africa circumnavigation, Phoenicia will journey to Britain and is due to arrive this summer.