Irish Team Head South

Irish Team Head South

Irish Trio Head to Antarctica

Only 200 years ago the white continent was officially recorded for the first time by an expedition led by Irishman Edward Bransfield. The Irish-born navigator and expedition leader is credited with making the first confirmed sighting and detailed maps of the Antarctic mainland, an astonishing discovery which began the era of Antarctic exploration later made famous by the exploits of Ross, Crozier, Borchgrevink, Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton and others. 

Despite the recognition of his contribution to Antarctic discovery by the iconic men that came after him, the story of Edward Bransfield has largely been forgotten, a story of a young teenager pressed into the British Navy in Cork harbour in 1803, who ended up making  one of the most astonishing discoveries of that century.

Irish Sailing Sustainability Ambassador and offshore racing sailor, Damian Foxall, teams up with Niall MacAllister, research vessel skipper and marine biologist and Lucy Hunt, creator of the Ocean Health Education programme for Volvo Ocean Race, to become “Team South”. The team will be exploring the contrast of latter day exploration against today’s Antarctica on board sailing vessel Ocean Tramp.

These three highly regarded sailors and scientists from Cork and Kerry will take their background in environmental education, research and adventure to head to Antarctica, to experience first-hand the impact of climate change and witness the fragile ecosystem, which is home to iconic wildlife such as  penguins, albatrosses and whales and seals. 

Damian shared his enthusiasm: “Having been involved in over ten round-the-world races, I have seen the southern ocean and the world in a way that few get to experience - icebergs, albatross and forgotten sub-Antarctic islands - I look forward to stepping foot on the continent for the first time and to sharing this unique privilege with my team and our guests.”

They have chosen to work with Quixote Expeditions, an Antarctic expedition company with a deep ethical ethos of community collaboration, education, scientific research and minimal footprint, skippering the 65ft ketch, Ocean Tramp. Quixote Expeditions is a company that takes research and the knowledge we can gain from it very seriously, so much so that they give a free place to a research scientist on every expedition throughout their southern summer season of November to March.

Fede from Quixote expeditions said, "We are looking forward to this next season with such an experienced and passionate crew on board the Ocean Tramp. We've sailed the Bransfield Straits many times and are excited to be able to celebrate this milestone with our Irish crew."

Team South have also been given the incredible opportunity to take a team of Irish sailors and explorers on board for the last leg of the season. If you are interested in joining the team head on over to


For further information on Edward Bransfield and the unveiling of a monument to him in January 2020 go to