The HMS Endeavor

"The HMS Endeavor started as a collier, that is ship designed to haul coal.

In today’s terminology, she’d be a tanker hauling oil. Not a glamorous ship, but very utilitarian. 

The colliers had the capacity to haul large amounts of cargo, with a flat bottom that allowed for shallow waters and the possibility of an unforeseen grounding. Another plus, it could be manned by a small crew if necessary."

It was the perfect vessel for an exploration to map uncharted lands, collect new specimens of plants and relics, and to carry the necessary supplies and gear for a three year long scientific expedition. The voyage would be very profitable for England, and would add large areas of land and rule to King George III’s empire without firing it’s cannons once.

The ship was originally called the Earl of Pembroke, a ship rigged Barque with a length of 109 feet, or 33.3 meters, carrying about 10,000 square feet of sail area (930 m2) It was built in 1764, and refitted at Whitby in Yorkshire in 1768 as the Endeavor.

It’s voyage was crafted with international cooperation. Over 150 observers in all, from around the world, hoped that their astronomical observations of Venus in it’s transit across the Sun, would finally yield the distance of the Earth from the Sun.

The rations for the trip included a hot meal every day, a pound of bread, and a gallon of beer.

This was supplemented by a variety of other foods, including fish, butter, vegetables, and meat at least four times a week. 

A full sized accurate and seaworthy reproduction of the ship was launched in Australia in 1993. It took eight years to construct. And then spent 11 years voyaging the world.

The original Endeavor ended up off the coast of the USA. You can see her reproduction at the Australian National Maritime Museum, where you can even register for a trip on the ship.

It promises to be more a working vacation than a pleasure cruise, as you are expected to help with all the aspects of running an 18th century ship

Its remains, if there are any left, lie at the bottom of Newport Harbor, Rhode Island. The ship was scuttled along with 12 others in an effort to blockade the harbor.

In August 1778, during the American War for Independence, the British Navy made the decision to sink the ships. The Endeavor had been renamed the Lord Sandwich, and was used by the British Board of Transport to carry the troops to the war in North America.

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