A Polish crew has set a new record for sailing the furthest south. Selma, a 67ft steel ketch skippered by Piotr Kuźniar and a crew of ten, reached the edge of the ice in the Ross Sea, at 78° 43’S in the Bay of Whales, just over 100 nautical miles farther south than the previous record.
The previous record was set in 2012 by the Sergei Nizovtsev, with a crew of Russians and Ukrainians, sailing a 30m sailing yacht, Scorpius. They reached 77°S.
There was a debate at the time about whether the record should include navigation in a dinghy as well as a yacht because, in 1965 Lt. Commander Steve Cockley, based in McMurdo Sound, sailed a Moth, Tiny Too, in a 30m gap in the sea ice to a latitude of 77°50’S, some 50 miles more than Scorpius, but he did not sail it to the continent.
Either way, Selma has made a new record by reaching 78°43’S 163°40W where her crew climbed an ice wall to reach the top of the glacier.
Selma is a steel ketch designed by French naval architect Georg Auzepy-Brenneur. She was built in the shipyard CM Merret in Brittany in 1981 and was bought by current owner Krzysztof Jasica in 2006. Since then she has completed 26 expeditions and 80,000 nautical miles, through the Pacific, taking part in the Sydney-Hobart Race in 2014 and exploring throughout Antarctica, South Georgia and round Cape Horn.