PETER GOODWIN    Book Number: 89866    Product format: Hardback

The Royal Navy's First Polar Expedition 1773. In the summer of 1773, 14 year old Midshipman Horatio Nelson took part in an expedition to the Arctic which came close to ending his naval career before it had begun. The expedition was charged with finding the North Pole as well as a navigable north-east passage between the Atlantic and Pacific. Supported by the Royal Society and King George III, command of the expedition was given to the Hon. Constantine Phipps. Two former bomb vessels, HMS Racehorse and HMS Carcass were specially fitted out and strengthened for the expedition. Nelson had command of one of the smaller boats of the Carcass in which he helped save men from the Racehorse from an attack by walruses. He also had an encounter with a polar bear while allegedly attempting to obtain a bearskin as a present for his father. Meeting extreme conditions north of Spitsbergen, both ships became locked in ice and unable to cut their way out, the sailors prepared to abandon the ships. Fortunately the wind changed, breaking up the ice. Despite terrible storms on the voyage home, the crews and ships remained intact, a credit to the leadership of Phipps and Lutwidge, his co-commander, as well as the seamanship and bravery of the crews. Drawing on the ship's journals and expedition Commander Phipps' journal from the National Archives, the book creates a picture of the expedition and life on board. Using the ships' muster books, it also details the crew's different roles and ranks. The overall concept of naval exploration is set in train by Joseph Banks and the Royal Society. Other great captains and voyages are discussed alongside Nelson, including Captain Cook and his exploration of the south seas, and the later ill-fated northern journeys of Franklin and Shackleton. The expedition embraced new technical developments including the chronometer, various scientific instruments, and a device for distilling fresh water from sea water. This is truly the description of a quest for knowledge in the 18th century Age of Enlightenment. 408pp, ship's drawings and charts, pictures of objects used on the ship, a navigational chart of the route taken, an amazing anatomical and biological drawings of crabs and other creatures. Extensive appendices and useful glossary, and 26 colour images.
Published price: £25
Bibliophile price: £9.00

Additional product information

ISBN 9781472954176
Browse these categories as well: Travel & Places, History, Transport

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