The Admiralty purchased two near new Whitby-built colliers for Cook's second voyage of discovery, the Marquis of Granby, 402 tons, and the Marquis of Rockingham, 340 tons. They were comissioned under the names of Drake and Raleigh which subsequently became the Resolution and Adventure.
Sir Joseph Banks had suggested a forty-gun ship or an East India Company ship, but the Admiralty had no hesitation in following Cook's recommendations. The ships had a larger hold than the other types and more space between decks where the men were berthed. This allowed for a greater amount of fresh air and light and also less damp conditions. Cook supervised the fitting out of the ships with the help of Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty.
The Adventure, which cost the Navy £2,103, was placed under the command of Captain Tobias Furneaux, a Devonshireman who had been Second Lieutenant under Wallis on the Dolphin. Furneaux was an excellent seaman but unfamiliar with Whitby ships.
After refitting, the Adventure sailed at 335 tons with a compliment of 81 men and one civilian. The Board of Longitude sent two astronomers on the second voyage and William Bayly sailed with Furneaux. The Adventure was a smaller edition of the Resolution, a good looking ship but she did not achieve the fame of Cook's choice.
By mid-December 1772 the two ships had reached the Antarctic waters. The first crossing of the Antarctic circle occurred in January 1773. They became separated in a heavy fog when only about 75 miles from Enderby Land but did not know that land was close. By prearrangement the future rendevouz was to be Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand.
Furneaux visited Tasman's Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) and named Adventure Bay. He concluded there was no strait between Van Diemens Land and New Holland. However, astronomer Bayly insisted that there were coastal islands and a strait. Bayly was proven correct by the ship's surgeon, George Bass who sailed through the strait which bears his name - some 20 years later.
Cook met up with Furneaux at Queen Charlotte Sound on 18 May 1773 where he found that his strict anti-scorbutic diets had not been followed. Half of Furneaux's men had contracted scurvy and one crew member subsequently died. By a quirk of fate it was the ship's Cook, Mortimer Mahoney, known as Murduck Mahoney.
Passing on to Tahiti, the Adventure was nearly wrecked when swept onto some reefs. She lost three anchors before getting clear.
After discovering islands named by Tasman, the Resolution and Adventure returned to New Zealand where they once again became separated near Cook Strait in a gale. Nine of Furneaux's men were murdered by Maoris at Queen Charlotte Sound and he returned to England twelve months ahead of Cook.
Furneaux's Adventure returned to her Whitby owners and sailed on for a further 35 years. In 1811 she was in the St. Lawrence River, the scene of Cook's magnificent charting work, but Cook was not there to guide her through the treacherous reaches. The great river was determined to perpetuate the memory of Cook and claimed the Adventure for all time when she was wrecked there.
Voyages of Captain Cook by Rex and Thea Reinits;
The Seamen's Seaman by Allan Villiers;
Cook and Australia by Sylvia Corner.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 87, volume 3, number 3 (1978).