The Endeavour Replica - Australia to Britain
Reports on the ship’s progress, from which these details were taken, are being put onto the Internet at the Web site of the HM Bark Endeavour Foundation (formerly at http://sydney.DIALix.oz.au/~hmbark).
To benefit from the South East Trade Winds and the South Equatorial Current we set a course to sail around the outer edge of the S. Indian Ocean high pressure system. We stopped at the islands of Rodriguez, Mauritius and Reunion. From Reunion it was mostly rhumb line sailing, down to the south coast of Madagascar and across the Mozambique Channel. As we approached South Africa we steered north of our intended course to compensate for the influence of the south-west going Agulhas Current.
From Durban we set sail on our coastal passage sailing close to the 100 fathom line to take advantage of the South-West going Agulhus Current. On the night of the 19th during the gale the gaff of the mizzen course split along it’s length for about 7 feet. It was repaired at Port Elizabeth.
We departed [from Port Elizabeth] under light drizzle and stiff Easterly winds, motor sailing with fore and aft set until midnight when courses were shaken out. We entered Table Bay under square sails before finally coming alongside in Alfred Basin, Cape Town.
From Cape Town we set sail on a rhumb line course 310 degrees true. Over the period of the voyage our course only varied to achieve the most optimum sailing angle to the wind. Just after midnight on the 22nd January the Endeavour crossed the Prime Meridian for the first time. The same morning Endeavour crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, sailing into the Tropics. The Royal Mail Ship ‘St. Helena’ altered course to pass Endeavour by on the 24th afternoon to exchange courtesies on her voyage to the island from Cape Town. Endeavour came to anchor in James Bay the morning of 26th, Munden’s point bearing 110 true, 2.5 cables off.
From St. Helena we set sail making good a course of 335 degrees true. This tack was sailed on for four days by which time Endeavour had almost reached the latitude of Ascension Island, but was still two days sail to the east. Then we had to resort to the use of the main engines for the first time since Cape Town due to the doldrums living up to its windless reputation. This broke a run of 2318 nautical miles sailed without the use of mechanical propulsion. The westerly course was made to Ascension Island and Endeavour came to anchor in Clarence Bay the afternoon of 5th, Bates Point bearing 110 true, 2.2 cables off.
After calling at Tenerife and Madeira the ship was due to arrive at London on 25th March.
In the early days of Australia’s European history letters were carried by sailing ships that took at least six months to sail to Europe. It was, therefore, common to wait for over a year for a reply. The Endeavour is carrying over 13,000 reproduction 18th century letters inscribed “Endeavour Bark”, sealed with an embossed image of the ship. Upon arrival at London each one will be delivered to the address written on the front. Similar letters can be purchased at the ship for the return voyage.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1374, volume 20, number 2 (1997).