Meet John Dikkenberg, the new captain of HMB Endeavour, replica. John joined the museum about three weeks ago and it’s fantastic to have him on board. We caught up with John to find out more about his experience sailing tall ships and his new role as captain. If you have any questions for John, add them in the comments section of this blog and we’ll have them answered for you.
It’s great to have you on board as the new captain of Endeavour. Can you tell us about your experience at sea and on tall ships?
Most of my experience in tall ships comes from James Craig. I’ve been with that ship for about seven years, and been with her as master for about five years. I’ve been going to sea since the late 60s and in a previous life I was the captain of two Oberon class submarines and a River class destroyer.
Is it difficult to take on the role of master of an 18th century square-rigged ship like Endeavour? What are the main challenges?
All tall ships are a challenge but an 18th century ship is particularly so. HMB Endeavour preceded James Craig by over 100 years and the evolution in square rigged sailing ships during that period is very obvious when you compare them. Endeavour also brings the challenge of combining a museum exhibit with an operational ship. Both are important roles and both bring knowledge and experience to the people visiting and sailing her .
What do you think attracts people from all walks of life to want to sail on ships like Endeavour?
There are a variety of reasons people come to ships like Endeavour. Some just love tall ships, some are trying to replicate the experience of a seagoing or migrating ancestor and some are looking for adventure. For everyone, sailing an 18th century sailing ship in the 21st century is a rare privilege and I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t enjoy and treasure it.
What are some of the unusual things you have witnessed at sea?
Seeing my old ship, Torrens, sunk as a target after a torpedo trial. In terms of natural phenomena, the whale migration off the Australian east coast every year.
What are you looking forward to the most as the captain of Endeavour?
Sailing one of the world’s finest tall ships, working with a skilled and dedicated crew and introducing people to the fun and adventure of square rig sailing.