EYOS is lucky to work with some of the most accomplished and capable captains in the industry. This includes Taigh MacManus, one of the men at the helm of Legend. Join us for a conversation with this intrepid captain about sailing a world class expedition yacht, charting exploratory courses in the polar regions, and sharing the world’s most remote destinations with guests.
Hi, Taigh! Can you introduce yourself and explain in a few words your journey to captaining Legend? How did you get your start on yachts and what drew you to the responsibility of being a captain?
- I would like to say that at a young age, I fell afoul of those first few lines of Melville’s – but my journey at sea started off sailing dinghies off the coast of Eastern Canada – rather than pursuing an elusive whale. I spent the summers of my teenage years participating in sailing programs, but it wasn’t until university that I signed up for the Canadian Coast Guard’s Inshore Search and Rescue Program. Over three years I was fortunate enough to be trained by exceptional mentors and instructors through this program, and I worked alongside some exceedingly talented teams to provide rapid response to emergencies in the Maritimes of Canada. Fifteen years ago, while working in the Canadian Coast Guard, I decided to go overseas in order to put to sea. I spent five years working on yachts from New Zealand, the Americas, Europe, and a few far-flung places in between. Then in 2013, I had the great fortune of leaving yachting to work for Schmidt Ocean Institute. Their oceanographic research vessel took me to some of the most remote places on Earth, with the intent to peel back the layers of what we do not know. Our team mapped tens of thousands of kilometers of the ocean floor and discovered new species–such as the largest siphonore in the Indian Ocean.
Throughout my seafaring career, I have had strong leaders who inspired me, showing me that someday I could safely lead teams to the very margins of the charts.
What, in your opinion, makes for the ideal expedition yacht? How does Legend fit into this category for you and what sets her apart from other expedition yachts on the water today?
- The ship itself needs to have the physical properties to safely see a voyage to completion. However, what makes the ideal expedition vessel is the makeup of the crew and the “value-added” that they bring with them. Legend is a sturdy and resilient platform that can safely break ice while our guests break bread, but what makes the ship truly exceptional is the level of professionalism of our crew and the effort they put forward during every trip. The ideas for once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our guests are extraordinary. From submarine treasure hunts to paddleboarding out to a tiki-themed bar on a drifting piece of ice, there is no end to the creative ideas that they push forward.
Legend is well suited for expedition operations in both polar regions and the tropics, so you have seen the entire spectrum of conditions and challenges at sea. What were some of your most challenging conditions? Have there been any particular expedition routes that stand out among all the others?
- In 2013 about 1000 Nm off the west coast of the United States the ship I was on had to hove to in 14 meter seas for a handful of days. With so much elevation change, navigating the passageways was like falling blindfolded backward on a rollercoaster. At the start of this year, Legend pushed forward into some pretty challenging conditions to put scientists and guests ashore in Antarctica where no one had ever stepped foot.
How many years have you been with Legend and where have you taken her?
- I joined Legend in the summer of 2022, having left the Expedition/Oceanographic field to spend more time in polar regions. I have sailed with Legend from as far north as Svalbard to the Antarctica Peninsula and some very notable places in between. One of the supreme highlights of my time with Legend so far is stepping ashore in South Georgia to see the culmination of Shackleton’s incredible journey.
In what ways does your expertise affect the guest experience? How do you work with the EYOS team to decide things like landing sites and itineraries?
- The intersection of my experiences in hospitality and Search and Rescue — in addition to my history of being part of exceptional teams and crews — allows me to provide a safe space for guests to explore as they embark on journeys to remote and isolated areas. Fostering trust with our guests is essential, as we take them so far away from their homes that venturing any farther forward would actually have them going back. The EYOS teams provide a breadth and depth of knowledge that is unsurpassed in the regions we operate. They offer exceptional guidance and instruction with their countless years of local knowledge in the areas of operation. Working as part of a larger team, we openly collaborate to provide the highest quality of experience for our guests as we bring them safely to the edge of the world.
You’ve already broken boundaries and pushed the limits more than most in yachting. What’s next? What expeditions are you looking forward to with EYOS and Legend?
- With a full season in Antarctica before us, I am excited to make my way back down south with EYOS to find undiscovered natural treasures for our guests to be in awe of. I would love to be part of an EYOS expedition to Iceland, to let our guests dive in the crystal clear waters of Silfra, the only place in the world where you can swim between two tectonic plates.