95L x 29W x 90H (cm)
HMS Endeavour, also known as HM Bark Endeavour, was a British Royal Navy research vessel commanded by Lieutenant James Cook on his first voyage of discovery, to Australia and New Zealand from 1769 to 1771.
Launched in 1764 as the collier Earl of Pembroke, she was purchased by the Navy in 1768 for a scientific mission to the Pacific Ocean, and to explore the seas for the surmised Terra Australis Incognita or “unknown southern land”. Renamed and commissioned as His Majesty’s Bark the Endeavour, she departed Plymouth in August 1768, rounded Cape Horn, and reached Tahiti in time to observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the Sun. She then set sail into the largely uncharted ocean to the south, stopping at the Pacific islands of Huahine, Borabora, and Raiatea to allow Cook to claim them for Great Britain. In September 1769, she anchored off New Zealand, the first European vessel to reach the islands since Abel Tasman’s Heemskerck 127 years earlier. In April 1770, Endeavour became the first seagoing vessel to reach the east coast of Australia, when Cook went ashore at what is now known as Botany Bay.
The Eagle is a three-masted sailing Barque with 21,350 square feet of sail. It is homeported at the CG Academy, New London, Connecticut. It is the only active commissioned sailing vessel in the U.S. maritime services. (One of five such Training Barques in world. Sister ships include: MIRCEA of Romania, SAGRES II of Portugal, GORCH FOCK of Germany, and TOVARICH of Russia.)
The Eagle bears a name that goes back to the early history of the United States’ oldest continuous seagoing service. The first Eagle was commissioned in 1792, just two years after the formation of the Revenue Marine, the forerunner of today’s Coast Guard.
In the late 1920s, the Japanese Ministry of Transport ordered the four-masted barks Nippon Maru and Kaiwo Maru for the Kokai-Kunrensho (Institute for Nautical Training), which already operated the four-masted bark Taisei Maru and the four-masted barkentine Shintoku Maru. Their work for the merchant marine is reflected in their names. Maru, which signifies wholeness or unity, is an almost universal suffix for Japanese merchant-ship names. Nippon means Japan, and Kaiwo is the mythological king of the seas, equivalent to Neptune or Poseidon. Commissioned in 1930 and 1931, respectively, the barks were described by Harold Underhill as “imposing rather than beautiful.” Their very high freeboards reflected a desire to maximize the amount of natural light admitted to the crew spaces below decks, while their comparatively shorter yards and smaller sails were designed to accommodate the relatively small stature of the average Japanese before World War II.
Before World War II, the ships’ training voyages carried them throughout the Pacific, and Nippon Maru made four voyages to the United States, five to Hawaii and seven elsewhere in the Pacific. During World War II her yards were sent down and she was used as a motor-training vessel in the Home Islands. Repatriating Japanese soldiers and civilians after the war, she was rerigged in 1952 and resumed training, making her first cruise to the United States in 1954, and her first to the East Coast in 1960. Both Nippon Maru and Kaiwo Maru remained active training ships until the 1980s, when they were replaced by new ships with the same names.