Guillermo “Memo” Castro is the founder and owner of 40 Grados Sur, a shipyard that has been the building facility of Antares Yachts since 2010. In the past, Memo has managed his own established boatyard and managed the production of the Open 30 sailboat with an innovative moving keel, the Milonga 35 – a tender designed by German Frers, and a 42-foot classic Marco Polo trawler.
By the age of 50, Memo has spent a lifetime as a professional sailor, both as crewmember and skipper. Memo’s career includes intensive training with North Sails Argentina, where he later set up a new Rigging and Deck Handling Management division. In this role he advised on and set up ideal rigging and deck hardware, working with leading brands such as Lewmar, Sparcraft and others.
Memo gained building experience by managing the refurbishment and construction projects of a number of cruising and racing yachts and has worked with all available materials including carbon fibre, FRP, wood and steel.
Other custom boats built by Memo were:
- Nabuco 40’, PRFV, racing yacht by G. Frers, 1991
- Salvador 44’, PRFV, cruising yacht, In house design, 1991
- Galatese 49’, PRFV, cruising yacht by H. Domato, 1994
- Mambo XL 49’, PRFV, cruising yacht by H. Domato, 1994
- San Gregorio 36’, PRFV, racing yacht by B. Farr, 1994
- Pionero 57’, Aluminum, fast cruising H. Ezcurra, 1995
- San Gregorio II 44’, Carbon Fibre, racing yacht by J. Soto Acebal, 2000
- Wu-Wei 40’, Steel, cruising by Santiago Herrera, 2001
Memo’s sailing experience is as impressive as his portfolio – two trips to Cape Horn, several South Atlantic crossings, and he was amongst the crew to sail to Antarctica aboard a 28 foot Pequod – surprisingly, the first Argentine yacht to sail to Antarctica in 1987. A book written by Hernan Alvarez Forn titled “Antarktikos” relates the trip to Antarctica:
“…we were sailing a course to leave Deceit Island clear to the West, and no less than seven whales started blowing, that way of breathing that almost drove the species extinct as it can be detected from a great distance. It was not long before we overtook the obelisks or enormous vertical stones of Cape Deceit, when at one a.m. of December 4th we guessed- more than saw- barely profiled by an elegant touch of greyish blue, our old friend, Cape Horn, and the flashes of its lighthouse. By this stage we could say that Veronica, as well as Memo and myself were intimate with the renowned confine of America…”
40 Grados Sur shipyard is located in San Fernando, a suburb on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on a tributary of the Rio de la Plata. The finishing facility is within 500 meters from the water and has wide opening doors that span the side of the whole building – allowing easier maneuvering of hulls and decks. Antares Yachts also has a secondary facility strictly for FRP, which isolates the spraying and layup from the rest of the building process.
Regional Boat Building Legacy
Argentina’s extensive coastline frames a nautical tradition that spans nearly two centuries and makes the country not only the birthplace of expert yachtsmen, but it also produces some of the world’s prominent naval architects building some top competitive racing yachts – most recently, the 2007 Spanish America’s Cup challenger Desafio Español.
A real advantage to building in Argentina is the dedication and commitment of the qualified workforce. One of the challenges builders meet is the constant turnover of workers. This could translate to many hours spent training a new workforce without any guarantees that they would be there long enough to follow through on the construction of one boat, let alone a succession of them.
The Argentinean workforce comes from a legacy of boat builders who have carried this trade from one generation to another and consider themselves professional boat builders and not merely plumbers, electricians and cabinet makers who happen to be applying their craft to building a boat. With less time spent on training new employees, more time can be spent on honing their skills in building the Antares.