Beachlands local sails on Endeavour

By Jim Birchall

Beachlands local Steve Lucas is on-board the Endeavour replica as it navigates its way around New Zealand as part of the TUIA250 commemorations.

Steve joined the ship in Gisborne for the 15-day stretch to Auckland. The ship stopped for Powhiri’s in Tolaga Bay, Mercury Bay, Umupuia and in Auckland over Labour weekend.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, as the ship weathered a big storm off East Cape with winds gusting up to 70 knots. Crisis was averted by the “professional crew of around 15, and around 25 voyage crew” says Steve, and added that the crew all mucked in onboard;  “We have been fully involved in helming, sail handling, climbing the rigging to furl and reef sails and keeping lookout. We work under the supervision of the professional crew providing the required manpower”

Steve Lucas on board the Endeavour replica. Photo supplied

When asked if the ship made famous by the first pacific voyage of Captain James Cook in 1769 is difficult to sail, Steve outlined the limitations when compared with modern ships. “The Endeavour cannot sail to windward like a modern yacht and with the very flat bow – it’s like pushing a sea wall through the sea- on the helm, it’s hard work maintaining course”.

Modern conveniences can be implemented if need dictates, as Steve says, “It does have engines but all the sailing is using the traditional methods to make sail and manipulate the 2.5-tonne anchor using the capstan.  When tacking or gybing, it takes a lot of manpower and coordination to move the sails as required”.

The ship left for Whangarei and Bay of Islands on Tuesday and then rounds Cape Reinga before ticking up the nautical miles on a long trek to Picton to continue the Tuia250.