Built and launched in Whitby, HMS Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in maritime history, taking Yorkshire-born Captain James Cook and his crew on their voyage of discovery to Tahiti, New Zealand and through uncharted Pacific waters to Botany Bay, Australia, where they landed in 1770. Constructed from wood and propelled by 25 sails she was sunk in 1778 during the American War of Independence but hit the headlines again earlier this year when Australian historians and scientists claimed to have found her wreck off the coast of Rhode Island USA after a 22 years search.
Verification is ongoing but the publicity generated is good news for businessman Andrew Fiddler of Jaga Leisure, who is now selling a life-size replica of the Endeavour moored in Whitby Harbour, where it is a popular visitor attraction and learning centre.
The ship is on the market with Nationwide Business Sales priced at over £1m and is famous in its own right as one of two faithful reproductions. The other is owned by the Australian National Maritime Museum. Mr Fiddler bought the ship at auction in 2018, outbidding nine other would-be owners, including The Royal Navy, a local authority and a bidder from the Caribbean.
“It was originally built in 1993 in the North East and was launched by Prince Philip. I believe it was used by naval recruits and then it became a wedding venue but it was in a sorry state of disrepair when I bought it,” says Mr Fiddler. “It was also landlocked on a river at Stockton, which meant it getting to Whitby was a logistical nightmare.”
To reach the coast, the 33m long steel vessel had to be lifted by two cranes onto a huge transporter then taken under police escort for restoration in a dry dock in Middlesbrough. She was then towed by tugs down the coast to Whitby harbour where she has a berth at the aptly named Endeavour Wharf.
“The ship is a visitor attraction that tells the story of Captain Cook and we have a lot of school parties visiting because Cook is on the curriculum. We also have a restaurant onboard but the ship could be used as a home, a hotel, holiday let or a wedding venue,” says Mr Fiddler, who is selling as he winds down his business operations in preparation for retirement. While the ship is not seaworthy, she can traverse open waters under assistance and she can be transported by road.
“I have enjoyed having the ship and I’m glad I bought it because there was interest from abroad at the auction and I didn’t want it to leave the country but now is the time to let it go,” says Mr Fiddler.
The replica Endeavour, which has three decks, can hold up to 250 people. It is licensed to sell alcohol and has a commercial kitchen and a website www.hmbarkendeavour.co.ukMr Fiddler says that in peak season, it generates up to £10,000 a day.
Simon Burbridge of Nationwide Business Sales says: “We are expecting a lot of interest from here and abroad.” For details visit www.nbscorporate.com