Phoenicia, the replica 600BC wooden ship, has arrived triumphantly back in Syria having completed a 20,000 mile circumnavigation of Africa. The journey was intended to recreate the first circumnavigation of Africa, thought to have been achieved by Phoenician mariners around 600BC.
The expedition took over two years to complete, and was approved by the Royal Geographical Society and supported by Raymarine as an equipment sponsor.
Phoenicia was built using traditional Phoenician construction methods and materials, and designed using evidence from shipwrecks and archaeological finds.
Advice from scholars ensured she was completely authentic, but on the inside she was equipped with the latest high tech electronic navigational equipment from Raymarine.
The journey was completed in two stages. The first saw Phoenicia depart from Syria in Summer 2008 and sail East as far as Yemen.
After a short break, she completed her circumnavigation past Oman and Mozambique, around the Cape of Good Hope, out to the Azores, and through the Straits of Gibraltar via Tunisia, Malta and Lebanon to her final port of Arwad, where she arrived to a crowd of over 2,000 well wishers on 23rd October.
The homecoming was celebrated with a gala dinner held at Tartous.
Phoenicia was fitted out with a Raymarine C80 multifunction display, GPS antenna, Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver,, ST60+ tridata, wind system and repeater, DSM300 fish finder and Raymarine LifeTag wireless man overboard system.
The systems worked flawlessly, despite facing severe conditions during the expedition including seven-metre waves and gale force winds. Having accurate navigational data also ensured Phoenicia could make the necessary detours to avoid dangerous areas prone to pirate attacks.
The Phoenicia expedition was conceived by Philip Beale, a former British Royal Naval Officer and entrepreneur.
It is being featured in a national television documentary 'Ancient Worlds' to be shown on BBC2 in the autumn.