Almost exactly 250 years since the original sailed from Plymouth on its first voyage of discovery, a replica of Captain Cook’s Endeavour came “home” to Whitby on Friday.
The life-size model, constructed of steel, will have a new permanent home in the town, as a visitor attraction and education centre, with actors recreating life on board its illustrious predecessor.
Built in 1993, it had been berthed on the River Tees at Stockton, but was put up for auction last year and bought for £155,000 by Whitby businessman, Andrew Fiddler.
He said: “The ship was in a pretty poor shape when we purchased her, with rotting wood, worn fittings and spaces that didn’t do justice to the story.
“Rather than a museum, the Endeavour will be an exciting and entertaining learning attraction that captures the imaginations of children and adults alike.”
The ship, which was not designed to be seaworthy, was taken by road for restoration before being brought to Whitby, where the original Endeavour was built.
The work included repairs to the three masts, which have now been rigged with 4,500 metres of rope and 450m of steel wire. The ship will now undergo a final fit-out before opening to the public at its new harbourside home on Endeavour Wharf.
It is one of only two life-size replicas of Capt Cook’s original. The other, an oceangoing craft built of wood, visited Whitby in 1997, 2002 and 2003, and is now in Sydney, where it was constructed.
The arrival of the second replica, which had been delayed for a week because of gusts in the North Sea, coincided with the announcement of events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Cook’s voyage. He had served his apprenticeship in Whitby, and his former cottage is now a museum dedicated to his life.
The Captain Cook Festival, from July 6 to 8, will see two tall ships sailing into the harbour as a backdrop to music and comedy performances, and two days of live cooking demonstrations as celebrity chefs try to rise to the challenge of recreating a menu using only ingredients that would have been available to Cook’s crew.
They include exotic fruits gathered from the South Sea islands he explored, and 18th-century seafaring staples like salt pork, hard tack crackers and rum, and fresh seafood.