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World Record Holder To Set Sail Again

Story: Mark Philpott | Photo: slapics
Nov 28, 2018
World Record Holder to Set Sail Again
Imagine if you can, for one minute, living in a sailboat the size of your car for five hundred days as you sail around the world by yourself.

Local Scarborough man Serge Testa did just that. Not only did Serge sail across many of the world’s most notorious oceans, but he also set a Guinness world record along the way – one that stands to this day.

The aluminium sailing vessel that Serge designed and built with his own hands was only eleven-feet-ten-inches (three-point-six-meters) in length. It was the smallest single-handed sailboat, ever to circumnavigate the world.  Serge’s love of the sea has remained, since he arrived back in the Brisbane River, in 1987, where his adventure started three years earlier.   

He has circumnavigated again, since that record-breaking adventure, in another, much larger sailboat, which he built together with his wife Robyn. 

Sixty-nine-year-old Serge recalls his momentous adventure as if it were only yesterday. 

“I wanted to travel the world and I didn’t have a lot of money, so I built a small boat with what I could afford and that would take me around the world,” he says.

Serge sits on his latest boat, (of course he built it himself), which is moored at the Scarborough Boat Harbour and recollects, “I loved the freedom and connection to nature that my adventure provided. The fact I could use the wind to take me anywhere was a great feeling.”

Serge’s adventure wasn’t without mishap. At one stage, while crossing the Indian Ocean and still some two-hundred nautical miles from Madagascar, his cooking stove caught fire, as he was refuelling it. Serge instantly went into survival mode and dived overboard to put out the flames that had engulfed his body. Moments later he was scrambling back on board and putting out the fire that was now raging through his tiny cabin.    

After the crisis he was unable to sail and had to rest his burns for several days. He adds, “I even thought that perhaps it might have been better not to have got back on board the boat and to have ended things then and there.”

We are thankful that Serge decided to continue, as his amazing feat of courage, endurance and personal endeavour is a story that Australia can, and should, be proud of.

Now, Serge wants to take to the road to exhibit his small boat, named Acrohc Australis, across the country to inspire others to believe in the impossible, and to motivate them to chase their dreams, no matter the perceived barriers in the way.