- Newsletter, Masthead (Endeavour Guides)
- Ship histories and stories
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 1998 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
BOSTON TO WHITBY
6 to 9 May 1997 – Endeavour was followed out of the dock by a commercial cargo sailing vessel Albatross, which is Dutch registered, built in 1897. Both craft sailed down the river together, anchoring for the night soon after. The new voyage crew kept watches. At 0230 the attentive duty watch noticed that Albatross was dragging towards our position so the captain was called. Luckily the crew of Albatross were keeping a VHF watch and they responded to our calls, negating the need to start our engines and moving out of harm’s way.
The crew were turned to at 0600 and sails were made ready for departure. After heaving away the anchor the sails were set and we moved off the anchorage without the aid of engines, setting a northerly course out of the Wash and into the North Sea, the wind was blowing at about 20 knots from the West. During the morning the wind slowly veered round to the South West then West allowing us to follow the coastline that lies in a North westerly direction. By afternoon the ship’s position was off the entrance of the river Humber and at this time the tide changed. As the wind was of insufficient strength to overcome the tide Endeavour was pushed South some eight miles even though we were heading in a northerly direction and sailing at 3 knots through the water. During the afternoon we experienced a series of wind changes and much freezing rain which kept the voyage crew busy tending the canvas, the exercise keeping them moderately warm!!
The tide changed towards the North at 1900 and by now the wind had dropped to 10 knots from the South West so we began to make good a course to the North West up the Yorkshire coast. During the night we continued to experience the occasional strong and wet wind squall so sail was reduced to courses and double reefed fore topsail, plus the lowers – fore topmast, main and mizzen staysails and the mizzen course – to keep the ship comfortable overnight. Early Thursday morning found us off the seaside town of Bridlington so we fired a cannon, that gave us a resounding echo back, to say that we had arrived!!
Rounding Flamborough Head at 0930 we continued to carry the tide, sailing close to Filey and Scarborough during the morning.
The tide then changed against us so the engines were started and we motor-sailed quietly up the coast until an RAF Sea King helicopter flew over the ship and communicated with us by VHF radio. The pilot requested that we participate in a simulated rescue and that he would lower a man down onto the after deck. Permission was granted and so while the ship was moving through the water at 5 knots not one but three rescue crew were lowered onto the poop very professionally. After a quick tour of the ship the three were lifted off again, now the proud owners of Endeavour peaked caps having completed a first for the ship!! We were adjacent to Whitby at 1830 and came in close to fire cannons, there being many people watching from the shore – in fact we were informed later that many had been waiting for several hours to see the ship pass.
We anchored in Runswick bay. The voyage crew kept anchor watches this night.
We next anchored off Staithes to be a backdrop for the festivities that were happening ashore. A flotilla of small craft had sailed up to Staithes to sail in company with us and they were joined by many more vessels as we approached Whitby. Close to the breakwater the Fisheries Protection vessel took up station ahead of us and we made the final approach to the port.
Both sides were packed with well wishers as Endeavour entered port, the local police estimating the total at over 100,000 persons. The wind was from the North at 10 knots which meant that it blew directly up the harbour enabling us to sail right up to our berth in the centre of town at the aptly named “Endeavour Wharf”. The twentieth Century version of Captain James Cook’s Endeavour had returned to her spiritual home!!