Ray Parkin - sailor, artist and author - set out in the 1970s to discover everything he could about Captain James Cook's Endeavour, one of the most famous ships in maritime history. The result is the most painstaking study of the ship ever undertaken.
This incomparable book is a unique account of a great journey - Endeavour's voyage up the east coast of Australia in 1770 - and a remarkable recreation of the experience of being on board ship.
Parkin draws on meticulous research to reveal what the Endeavour looked like, how it sailed, how it smelled, and what daily life would have been like for those on board.
How many strands of yarn were in the ship's cable? (954) Did the ship have a lightning conductor? (Yes) What was the diameter of her main mast? (21 inches). These details are illustrated by plans and figures depicting the ship's architecture and construction, its deck plan, rigging, sails, armament, boats, cables, anchors and accommodation, all beautifully drawn by Ray Parkin himself. A composite log of Endeavour's voyage - extracts from journals kept by those on board - is supplemented by an interpretive commentary and explanatory charts.
H M Bark Endeavour is a totally absorbing book - discursive, erudite, at times poetic, full of wisdom, insight and information.