London, July 14 : More than 2,500 years after the first circumnavigation of Africa by the Phoenicians, a brand new replica ship with 20 paying crew is preparing to follow in the footsteps of these ancient mariners.
According to the Greek Historian, Herodotus, in 600 BC, Phoenician mariners achieved the first circumnavigation of Africa in a 21-metre square-rigged ship with around 10 rowing stations on each side.
Philip Beale, a City fund manager turned adventurer, arranged for a team of Syrian boat builders to begin construction of a replica Phoenician ship in 2007.
The 17,000-mile historical voyage will begin from Syria on 1st August with 20 paying crew aboard.
After navigating down the east coast and tackling the Cape of Good Hope, the boat will return up the west coast, through the straits of Gibraltar and across the Med back to Syria, followed by a trip to the UK in summer 2009.
The crew aboard the ship will be braving some of the most dangerous coastlines on earth in an open boat with little shelter.
Philip Beale has previous experience with such a journey. In 2003, he set sail aboard the Borobudur, a recreation of another historical voyage from Indonesia to Africa.