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The Endeavour Replica - building specifications

The Endeavour Replica is being built to the same specification as the original Endeavour, and to standards certified by the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and the Australian National Maritime Museum. Where differences exist, these are to meet modern safety standards and / or to ensure that the vessel will have as long a life afloat as possible. The main differences are in the timber and the metal fittings used, and in the use of man-made materials for masts, ropes and sails. Instead of the traditional elm, oak or spruce, the replica is being built mainly from jarrah, a native Australian hardwood which will ensure a long life for the ship. Old growth oregon (Douglas Fir), especially imported from America, is being used for the masts, spars, topsides and decks. To prevent rotting and for crew comfort the replica will have better ventilation than the original ship and both modern and traditional preservatives are being used on the timbers. The larger masts and yards will be of laminated oregon. Iron fastenings will be galvanised. The rigging is polyester but has been made (on a 140 year old rope walk) to the exact specifications of the original rope. The sails are made of Duradon, a synthetic canvas which looks and handles the same as flax canvas.

Crew accommodation below decks will be as close to the original as possible. Crew will sleep in hammocks slung from the deck head of the lower deck sleeping flat, as Cook's crew did. They will be less crowded than their predecessors as there will be only 36 in the crew, rather than Cook's 90 odd.

In accordance with Australian Maritime Safety Authority regulations the Endeavour must have a modern galley, mess and ablutions facilities, engines, freezers and electronics, all of which must be housed below the lower decks, off limits to visitors. There will be a complete range of modern communications equipment, including a single side-band radio system, weather fax, collision radar and a Global Positioning System. The ship is being designated a commercial sailing vessel, which means large numbers of passengers will be allowed only on smooth-water cruises, although 12 invited people are permitted for other voyages. She will be registered as an Australian flag vessel, but will wear the traditional 18th century suit of colours in harbour.

An average sized person must bend almost double to enter Cook's cabin aboard the Endeavour, where a platform to support the great man's humble bunk and stowage area fill a cabin that wouldn't even hold a large bathtub.

Joseph Banks paid to alter the great cabin of the Endeavour and outfit it in such a grand style that he could even stand up straight in it. He enjoyed a transom seat and windows onto the sea, in contrast to Cook's portless confines illuminated only by whale oil lamps. Because Banks kept every invoice for the elaborate refitting of his quarters, even the colours of the cabin and its carpeting can be reproduced.

Joseph Banks' own desk has been discovered: under a sheet in the basement of the Mitchell Library in Sydney.

From information supplied by the Endeavour Foundation

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 962, volume 16, number 4 (1993).

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