Sail Endeavour

What to Expect

When you join a voyage on HMB Endeavour you'll be signed on as a member of the ‘voyage crew’.

If you join as a voyage crew you are not joining as a passenger, but as an active and important member of the crew required to sail the ship, in all conditions.
Voyage crew will learn and undertake 18th-century sailing skills, such as, haul lines, set or furl the sails, stand watches and steer the ship - all under the supervision of Endeavour's professional crew.

The ship is at sea 24 hours per day for the duration of the voyage. You will be put into “watches” and be required on deck for 4 hours during the day and four hours during the night.

Although previous sailing experience is not essential, voyage crew are required to commit to a rotating watch roster, be physically fit and not suffer chronic seasickness.

While it's desirable that voyage crew can climb aloft (up to a maximum of 39 metres in a harness in any weather condition) to handle the sails, this not a mandatory function. Should voyage crew feel uncomfortable climbing, they will simply be allocated alternate roles. A full complement of voyage crew is 36 people.

It will take time to adjust to life at sea.

As a consequence, many find the first few days on board challenging. You'll find that there's a large amount of information to be absorbed and skills to be learned regarding the ship, how it's sailed, and safety measures. You'll be learning something new every day.

There may be times where you'll be given an abrupt order requiring you to act quickly.  Please do not take any such instruction personally. Sailing conditions can change very quickly and the Master and all professional crew are there to ensure the safety of the ship and all on board.

You are not embarking as a passenger on a pleasure cruise when you join the HMB Endeavour.

"What I liked most about sailing on Endeavour was the total change/experience from your normal comfort zone as you voyage/work/live 18th-century style but with some 21st-century features (bathrooms & food to mention a few.)"

- recent crew member

Please note that while every effort is made to follow voyage plans, the decision to proceed with the program remains with the Master and depends on the weather.

If you haven't yet been on board the HMB Endeavour, you're encouraged to visit the ship alongside at the Australian National Maritime Museum. If unable to visit the vessel in person, it's recommended you take the self-guided virtual tour.

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No sailing experience or special physical preparation is necessary for a voyage on Endeavour. Provided you're in good health, well rested and approach the experience with an open mind you'll enjoy yourself. However, there are some guidelines that need to be followed in order to ensure your safety and the safety of other crew members, in addition to maximising your experience of 18th century sailing on board a tall ship:

  • aged 18 years or over
  • physically fit and able to be a member of the sailing crew 
  • willing and able to climb the masts and rigging
  • able to swim 50m fully clothed
  • meet the medical criteria of the voyage
  • agree to the code of conduct / terms and conditions of the voyage

HMB Endeavour operates around the Australian coast and at times in international waters and may sometimes be away from immediate medical support (note - the ship’s crew are fully trained in marine first aid). The voyage programme can at times be mentally and physically demanding with activities including sailing and climbing and at times in adverse weather conditions. The sleeping and living quarters are cramped and as voyaging crew you will need to take part in the night watch roster.

Please consider if any of the following conditions apply to you, before proceeding with your booking.

  • Heart condition
  • Epilepsy
  • Physical impediment
  • Experience of mental and emotional distress

Voyage crew sleep in hammocks in the communal 18th-century mess deck. Voyage crew provide their own sleeping bag, while the ship supplies the hammock. You will be allocated a watch number and there is a hammock berth that corresponds with this. You will be required to sling your hammock in this space. Pay attention to your knots!

Please note: While on board you won’t be required to perform any duty or task which, due to lack of training, physical fitness, fatigue or seasickness you feel may be putting your health or safety at risk.

The first few days of the voyage may cause seasickness. We recommend you consult your medical practitioner or pharmacist for advice on which medication is best for you well before the voyage begins. If you suffer from extreme motion sickness on land or sea, you may want to reconsider sailing on Endeavour.

Expect disrupted sleep due to working a rotating watch system and the 18th-century sleeping arrangements on board. You'll be sleeping in a hammock, in very close company with other crew members, in a ship that's constantly on the move. Adjusting to this disruption may cause physical and mental fatigue.

To help you with training, fatigue, seasickness or anything else you might need help with while on board, you'll be assigned a leader who'll be able to assist you. Additionally, there is a daily meeting of professional crew where any particular issues with voyage crew can be raised and a personalised response developed for you.

Endeavour has 2 x 405hp Caterpillar diesel engines on-board. We plan our voyage schedule for as much sailing as possible but our engines are used for safety as well as to maintain our 21st century schedule.

Definitely! Endeavour has a 20th century deck which has modern, hot freshwater showers and marine toilets. Showers must be used sparingly as the ship carries a limited supply of fresh water. 

No. For safety reasons, Endeavour is a dry ship and voyage crew are not permitted to bring alcohol or cigarettes on-board.

The day of departure involves various briefings and training and therefore no visitors are allowed on board during your pre-departure day. However, when Endeavour arrives at her destination port, family and friends are very welcome to come on-board for a look!

The average speed that Endeavour can sail is 4.5 knots, although the ship can easily sail at 8 knots and has achieved over 10 knots in ideal conditions.

Each Endeavour voyage has 56 people on board.

Yes! All crew joining Endeavour are given an induction into the ship and the first day is dedicated to training all new crew in line and sail handling, climbing aloft and safety procedures. Sailing Endeavour is different to sailing a modern sailing vessel and all crew, regardless of sailing experience, are treated equally.

Voyage crew assist the professional crew with sail handling on Endeavour and this will involve climbing the rigging to set the sails. The professional crew train the voyage crew on how to climb aloft safely as part of your induction. All crew are issued with a safety harness when they join and are required to clip on to the rigging when climbing aloft. No one is forced to climb, however it's preferred if you are willing to when required.

If you're unable to climb aloft the first time, it may pose a challenge for you to get to a higher point as the voyage continues. Experience on past voyages has shown that the more you try climbing aloft the easier it becomes. If you're unsure whether you can climb, or would like some practice in climbing, we suggest visiting an indoor rock climbing facility to help acclimatise yourself before setting sail. Should voyage crew feel uncomfortable climbing, they will simply be allocated alternate roles.

It's a requirement for all crew members to be able to swim to the extent that they would be able to swim to a lifebuoy if they need to be rescued. At a bare minimum, you will need to be able to tread water in the event that you are required to be rescued. 

When you are not working on the vessel you can read, listen to music or engage with others on board in cards and board games. Please note that much of your day will be working as a crew member on the voyage. 

Endeavour has very limited storage space and all personal belongings, apart from wet weather gear and sleeping bags, must fit into a locker (76cm x 50cm x 50cm). It is essential that you bring adequate clothing dependent upon the location. A recommended packing list will be provided to you prior to your departure to prepare you for your voyage.

We recommend appropriate good quality wet weather sailing gear – suitable for extreme weather conditions - including waterproof and windproof jacket and pants, plus warm clothing, sailing gloves and thermals. Waterproof and wind proof jackets and pants may be available for a nominal hire fee from the Museum upon application.

There are normal three-prong (Plug Type 1) 240 volt electrical sockets on the 20th-century deck. Please note that our electricity is from a generator, so voltage can fluctuate. There is a very small chance that damage to your electrical device may occur.

There is very limited internet access and mobile coverage at sea. If the ship is near shore, a mobile signal from the coast may be available, but there is no guarantee.  If there is an urgent message that needs to get to the ship or if an urgent message needs to be sent to shore, the Master can authorise the use of the ship's satellite.

Endeavour is an authentic replica but she still has some mod cons, including a modern galley and a professional catering team who cook hearty meals throughout the voyage to keep energy levels high. There is always plenty of food and you will not need to bring your own provisions. A well fed crew is a happy crew!

There is a high likelihood that you will suffer from seasickness at some time during the voyage, with the first few days of the voyage being the usual time when new crew members are most likely to experience it. Unfortunately, there is no easy cure if you are prone to suffer from seasickness, and the symptoms, including vomiting, can make for a most unpleasant time for you while they persist. Whilst sea sickness medications are highly recommended, there is no guarantee that they will be effective.

It's a requirement that you must take out sufficient travel insurance for the voyage and have adequate cover for death, or any illness, injury or loss you that you may suffer during the voyage. The Endeavour Voyage Team will request details of your travel insurance in advance of your departure.

The rigging on Endeavour is coated in tar. Therefore, when you climb aloft, there is a chance that your clothing will get marked with tar. Tar is extremely difficult to wash out of clothing.