Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Phoenicia is back - now to cross the Atlantic

by Nancy Knudsen on 8 Mar 2013
Phoenician Ship Captain John Jamieson http://www.skippertips.com
First he set out to circumnavigate Africa in a faithful replica of a Phoenician ship in 2010, and succeeded, proving that Phoenicians probably did it 2600 years ago. Now he's keen to prove that the Phoenicians could have crossed the Atlantic long before Columbus.

Former Royal Navy officer Philip Beale hopes to sail the same replica Phoenician boat, appropriately called Phoenicia, on a 5000nm voyage across the Atlantic in an adventure which could rewrite our history books.

Christopher Columbus 'sailed the ocean blue' in 1492, and was thought to be the first European to set foot on the 'New World, although these days there's evidence of Viking and other visits much earlier.

The Phoenicians were an ancient Mediterranean civilization who prospered from 1500BC to 300BC. Along with their sophisticated seafaring skills, the Phoenicians were renowned as an intellectual and industrious civilization who helped develop the alphabet we still use today. It was by copying from an ancient shipwreck discovered off the coast of Italy, and inspired by Greek historian Herodotus's writings, that Philip Beale and his supporters built the Phoenica in the first place, seeking to prove just what capable mariners they were.

'If anyone could have done it [crossed the Atlantic before Columbus], it was the Phoenicians,' Beale recently told CNN.

'Of all the ancient civilizations they were the greatest seafarers — Lebanon had cedar trees perfect for building strong boats, they were the first to use iron nails, and they had knowledge of astrology and currents.'

Beale is well used to sailing the Phoenicia, having been her skipper during the circumnavigation of Africa. Setting sail from Syria in 2008, The Phoenician covered 32,000 kilometers over two years, battling everything from six-meter waves off the Cape of Good Hope to Somali pirates.

'We had run the gauntlet of pirate-infested waters, overcome numerous technical problems and traveled deep into the Indian and Atlantic Oceans,' Beale says in the book about the incredible voyage, 'Sailing Close to the Wind'. (See Sail-World http://www.sail-world.com/Cruising/international/Sailing-Close-to-the-Wind---following-Phoenicia-around-Africa/105597!story)

'I had proved she was an ocean-going vessel and when she was coasting along the waves, her sail billowing in the wind; to captain her had been an unforgettable experience.'

The final leg of the journey actually took them wide out across the Atlantic and a mere 500nm off the coast of America. It was here Beale got his inspiration for the journey to the U.S.

'Archeologists have found Egyptian mummies with traces of tobacco and cocaine which could only have come from the New World,' Beale said. 'It indicates there was something going on across the Atlantic.'


In addition to the traces of tobacco and cocaine back in Egypt, Brazil is full of vestiges that corroborate the Phoenician presence in its lands and everything indicates that they concentrated their occupation in the northeastern region. A little away from the Longá and Parnaiba rivers' confluence, in Piaui state, there is a lake where Phoenician shipyards and a harbour with a place reserved to tie the 'Carpássios' (old long traveling ships) were discovered.

By navigating the Mearim river up north, in Maranhão state, when arriving in the Pindaré and Grajaú rivers' confluence we can find the Pensiva lake before known as Maracu. In that lake's borders there can be found shipyards made of petrified wood containing thick nails and bronze dowels. Researcher Raimundo Lopes, born in Maranhão State, excavated that location at the end of the twenties and discovered typically Phoenician tools.

In Rio Grande do Norte state, after roaming a 11 km canal, the Phoenician boats used to anchor in the Extremoz lake. The Austrian professor Mr. Ludwig Schwennhagen studied the place's subterranean parts and the embankments carefully and also some others that exist near the village of Touro where the Phoenician navigators anchored after roaming about 10 km of a canal. The same professor Schwennhagen tells us that he found Phoenician inscriptions in the Amazon in which there were references to many kings of Sidon and Tyre (887 to 856 BC).

Schwennhagen believes that the Phoenicians used Brazil as a base during 800 years at least, leaving there, besides material evidences, an important linguistic influence among the natives.

Setting off from Tunisia, the Phoenicia is expected to take two to three months to reach America. However, the biggest challenge may not turn out to be high seas and ferocious winds. Philip Beale must first raise approximately $156,000, or about £100,000, for the expedition.

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignMackay BoatsSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Bavaria Yachts to introduce Cruiser 34 and Nautitech 46
The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina The Cruiser 34 will be on show at the Bavaria Yachts display at the Strictly Sail boat show at Bayside’s Miamarina, from February 16th to 20th.
Posted on 13 Feb
Unique Transatlantic Sailing Event - Building friendship across oceans
Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Sailing in the wake of the great explorers, international friendship and understanding is at the core of this once in a lifetime adventure - The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, organised to celebrate Canada 150, the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
Posted on 10 Feb
Frigid flying – Coast Guard aircrews take on New England Winter
Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. Freezing rain? Teeth-chattering temperatures? Limited visibility? Coast Guard aircrews are still ready to fly. At Air Station Cape Cod, aviation maintenance and electronic technicians work around the clock to ensure the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters are prepared and ready to launch. There is one thing the maintenance crews and pilots cannot control: winter weather.
Posted on 9 Feb
On board interview with Lisa Blair - solo Antartica circumnavigation
So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. So far, Lisa is tracking very well in her attempt to become the first woman to sail solo around Antartica. After the setbacks of a delayed departure due to gremlins in the electronics, we are delighted to have these answers from her on board. She is well and enjoying her time. Climate Action Now, her Hick 50, left Albany in Western Australia on January 22, 2017.
Posted on 8 Feb
Yachting cartoonist Mike Peyton dies at 96
“The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist” died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. Mike Peyton, dubbed “The World’s Greatest Yachting Cartoonist”, died on January 25, 2017 just five days after his 96th birthday. A modest, shy man, he eschewed the spotlight and seemed unaware of the esteem which in sailors all around the world held him.
Posted on 27 Jan
Zhik Xeflex® - your shield against cold environments
This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. This radiant barrier mid-layer nearly defies description. How do you make a water resistant garment that really breathes, yet reflects your own body heat back to you? Where do you find a compression resistant and extremely insulating filling that is nowhere near as bulky as the Michelin Man, yet gives you that kind of warmth and comfort?
Posted on 17 Jan
Sounds like a boat - Lisa Blair's departure delayed due to electronics
Final preparations of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue Final preparations and safety checks of her yacht, Climate Action Now by Sydney-based sailor Lisa Blair have uncovered an electrical issue.
Posted on 15 Jan
Lisa Blair starts Solo Circumnavigation of Antarctica
Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Over 3,500 people have climbed Mount Everest, over 500 have rowed across the various oceans and 12 people have landed on the moon. Only two men have sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Sydney-based Lisa Blair, 32, intends to become the first woman, the fastest and the third person in history to conquer such a challenge.
Posted on 14 Jan
When whales meet sails
CAMPER helmsman Roberto ‘Chuny’ Bermudez found himself nearly face to face with whale in middle of North Atlantic Ocean. Currently the database for marine mammal strikes is very sparse. We are requesting sailors and boaters help to submit information on current and past incidents, however long ago that may be. By giving a location, date, identification if possible, and any other relevant information you can help scientists better understand where marine mammals are at risk for strikes
Posted on 8 Jan
Potential instability in Atlantic Ocean water circulation system
One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as today’s weather models predict One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as today’s weather models predict, according to a new study. In fact, changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) — the same deep-water ocean current featured in the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” — could occur quite abruptly, in geologic terms, the study says.
Posted on 6 Jan