A blog series by Steward John Cowie from on board the Australian National Maritime Museum’s HMB Endeavour replica as it sails from Port Lincoln to Portland. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.
Day 10, 3rd April 2016: At sea.
As the day dawned we were 35 miles off Batemans Bay and certainly not as far up the coast as we had hoped. After 6-7 hours of making good a consistent 9 knots, the wind dropped and our speed came back to 6 knots. Owing to our being in the East Australian Current, which flows south at 4 knots, our speed over-ground came back to 2 knots.
Since the current flows south and the wind was coming from the south, the seas overnight become short and steep and worked the helmsmen hard to maintain course.
Mid-morning the reefs in both topsails were shaken out but only after the Bosun and his mate had repaired an overnight tear in the fore topsail. With the reefs shaken out our speed increased to 3 knots but that was not enough to maintain our schedule. With the winds also predicted to turn north and increase to 30 knots, the Captain reluctantly decided to start the engines and motor sail back to Sydney.
Up until the engines were started we had covered 795 miles under sail. The engines had not been used in 10 days.
Cook’s Journal: Daily Entries
Wednesday 4th April 1770
Had a stead brisk gale at SSW with some flying showers of rain and a large hollow sea from the Southward In the PM unbent the Main Topsail to repair, brought another to the yard and set it close reef’d At Noon our Latitude by observation was 37°..56′ So Course and distance saild sence yesterday at Noon N 60° West 122 Miles. Longitude made from Cape Farewell 6°..54 West —
23 April 1770
In the pm had a gentle breeze at east which in the night veered to ne and North. At 1/2 past 4 pm being about 5 miles from the land we tacked and stood off SE and East untill 4 am at which time we tackd and stood in, being then about 9 or 10 leagues from the land. At 8 oClock it fell little wind and soon after calm. At noon we were by observation in the Latitude of 350 38′ and about 6 leagues from the land