HMS Adventure (1771)

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Hodges, Resolution and Adventure in Matavai Bay.jpg
Resolution and Adventure with fishing craft in Matavai Bay by William Hodges, painted 1776, shows the two ships at anchor in Tahiti.
Career (UK) RN Ensign
Name: HMS Adventure
Operator: Royal Navy
Launched: 1771
Fate: Sunk in the Saint Lawrence River in 1811
General characteristics
Tonnage: 340 tons
Length: 130 ft (40 m)
Beam: 28.5 ft (8.7 m)
Draught: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Propulsion: Sail
Sail plan: Barque
Range: Limited only by water and provisions
Complement: 81

HMS Adventure was a barque of the Royal Navy that sailed with Resolution on James Cook's second expedition to the Pacific in 1772–1775. She was the first ship to circumnavigate the globe from west to east.

She began her career as the North Sea collier Marquis of Rockingham, launched at Whitby in 1771. She was purchased by the Navy that year and named Rayleigh, then renamed Adventure. She was 39.7 m long, 8.7 m abeam and her draft was 4 m.

Soon after his return from his first voyage in 1771, Commander Cook was commissioned by the Royal Society of London to make a second voyage in search of a supposed southern continent, Terra Australis Incognita. Cook was given the command of Resolution, with Commander Tobias Furneaux accompanying him in Adventure. Furneaux was an experienced explorer, having served on Samuel Wallis's circumnavigation in Dolphin in 1766–1768.

Resolution and Adventure left Plymouth on 13 July 1772 and on 17 January 1773 were the first European ships to cross the Antarctic Circle. On 8 February 1773 the two ships became separated in a fog and Furneaux directed Adventure towards the prearranged meeting point of Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand, charted by Cook in 1770.

On the way to the rendezvous, Adventure surveyed the southern and eastern coasts of Tasmania (then known as "Van Diemen's Land"), where Adventure Bay was named for the ship. Furneaux made the earliest British chart of this shore, but as he did not enter Bass Strait he assumed Tasmania to be part of Australia. Most of his names here survive; Cook, visiting this shore-line on his third voyage, confirmed Furneaux's account and delineation of it, and named after him the islands in Banks Strait.

Adventure arrived at Queen Charlotte Sound on 7 May 1773 and Resolution followed on 17 May. From June to October the two ships explored the southern Pacific, reaching Tahiti on 15 August, where Omai of Ra'iatea embarked on Adventure (Omai later became the first Pacific Islander to visit Europe before returning to Tahiti with Cook in 1776). After calling at Tonga in the Friendly Islands the ships returned to New Zealand but were separated by a storm on 22 October. This time the rendezvous at Queen Charlotte Sound was missed — Resolution departed on 26 November, four days before Adventure arrived. Cook had left a message buried in the sand setting out his plan to explore the South Pacific and return to New Zealand. Furneaux decided to return home and buried a reply to that effect.

Before he could leave, a fight broke out between Adventure's crew and the local Māori people, in which ten crewmen and two Māoris were killed. This was reportedly prompted by an unknowing breach of tapu by a sailor, who placed a tin can that had held food on a chief's head.[1]

Adventure set out for home on 22 December 1773 via Cape Horn, returning to England on 14 July 1774.

After her voyage with Cook the Adventure was converted to a fire ship in 1780, then sold back to her original owners in Whitby in 1783, whereupon she returned to the life of a cargo carrier, eventually running between Britain and North America. In 1811 she was wrecked in the Saint Lawrence River.


  1. George Clarke (1903). Notes on Early Life in New Zealand, Chapter I, p. 27.

External links

Digitised copies of the original log of HMS Adventure by Commander T Furneaux, British Atmospheric Data Centre/The National Archives as part of the CORRAL project

cs:HM Bark Adventure de:HMS Adventure (1771) fr:HMS Adventure (1771) ja:アドヴェンチャー (帆船) pt:HMS Adventure (1771)