Highland man sets new record for sailing 'the wrong way' around the world

Iain MacNeil captained a motor boat through perilous conditions for five months.

Highland man Iain MacNeil sets new record for sailing ‘the wrong way’ around the world STV News
Celebrations: Iain and the crew toast their achievements.

A man from the Highlands has set a new record for sailing ‘the wrong way’ around the world.

Iain MacNeil, from Aviemore, captained a motor boat through perilous conditions for five months before arriving at the Lanzarote finishing line.

Called the ‘impossible journey’ by sailors, they went against the currents, from east to west, crossing the equator twice and travelling 31,500 nautical miles.

Iain said “The Tasman Sea is a 1000 mile stretch of water and here you’ve got an added complication that these Antarctic waters are very cold and they are racing up and meeting warm Australian waters and that does something very strange and creates a much steeper wave.

“We had three days encountering waves of seven metres in height and our water line length is only 21 metres so it’s like a third of the length, it’s larger than the width of the boat.”

The MV Astra sailed around all of the capes in the Southern Ocean, passing the Cape of Good Hope, in South Africa; Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia; Tasmania’s South East Cape;  South Cape, in New Zealand and Cape Horn, in Chile.

After setting off from Lanzarote on December 1  they finally docked to a heroes’ welcome back where they started.

Iain said “We didn’t see a ship for twenty days and the only company we had was the Space Station flying 220 miles above us, that was the only human contact that was anywhere near us!”

“When you look at it we have been 151 days at sea, 31,500 miles, five crew and the driver has to get the boat and all the crew home safely and it’s not until I stepped onto the quayside I thought ‘You did it.”