Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - Endure

Book of the Week- 'Cook' by Rob Mundle

by Jeni Bone on 11 Feb 2014
Voyage of the Endeavour .. .
Captain James Cook is one of the greatest maritime explorers of all time. Over three remarkable voyages of discovery into the Pacific in the latter part of the 18th century, Cook unravelled the centuries-old mysteries.

He solved queries about existence of Terra Australis Incognita - the great south land. He became the first explorer to circumnavigate New Zealand and establish that it was two main islands and he discovered the Hawaiian Islands for the British Empire.

He left the world an enduring legacy. Rob Mundle, bestselling maritime biographer of Fatal Storm, Bligh and Flinders, introduces us to an unlikely sailor in a teenage Cook who through the combination of hard-won skills as a seafarer, the talents of a self-taught navigator and surveyor, and an exceptional ability to lead and care for his men, climbed the ranks of the Royal Navy to achieve legendary status among all who sailed and mapped the world.

Written with colour, sweep and the authority of Rob's five decades as a competitive sailor, maritime journalist and broadcaster, this extensively researched biography of Cook will put you on the quarterdeck with the great navigator as he painstakingly guides his ship through dangerous, reef-strewn waters. You will also be alongside the captain when his ship is a wave-width away from annihilation - and at the helm at the start of an exciting new voyage.

In addition Mundle explores the voyaging life and travels of James Cookwith the intricacies and challenges of sailing his tall ship the Endeavour.

'What surprised me more than anything else was how close Cook and his man came to totally destroying their boat, about nine weeks after hitting the Endeavour Reef' he says. Cook was looking for a passage between the east coast and New Guinea, following the coastline up when they went aground on the Reef. They spent seven weeks repairing their boat in Endeavour River, which is now known as Cooktown, before heading off again.

'Up past Lizard Island, closing in on the coast, the current carried them in and they were one wave away from being smashed to pieces on the Reef. Banks and Cook would have died, along with all his men. We would all be speaking French now!'

Cook was a man who pursued a teenager's dream that evolved from a chance encounter in a small seafront village on the east coast of England. It was a dream that became a reality and transported him to legendary status among all who mapped the world, on land and sea. Only the fifteenth-century explorers, Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama can stand alongside him as explorers and seafarers of global acclaim.

'Cook was a genius,' says Mundle, who has lived and breathed the great man for over a year. 'He was the first person to circumnavigate the world twice, east to west and then west to east, and explore both the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. His ship was covered in ice and snow, the sails froze over placing tremendous weight on the rig. These are things that most people don't associate with Cook.'

Through the combination of hard-won skills as a seafarer, the talents of a self-taught navigator and surveyor, and an exceptional ability to lead and care for his men, Cook helped change the shape of the world map more than anyone else.

Captain James Cook met his demise in Hawaii, a death which is generally not accurately recorded, says Mundle. 'Cook was viewed as a God to the Hawaiian natives. They associated him with the harvest season, they feted him and fed him, celebrated his arrival. He then left, but when he returned a short time later, they took him to be a sham, thinking he just wanted to take their food. They were struggling because of a dry season. The mob soon became unruly, so Cook told the King to come down to the ship so they could talk away from this hostile atmosphere. Of course, the people thought Cook and his men were trying to kidnap the King, they got more agitated, Cook's men shot two of them, then one of the natives smashed Cook's skull in with a stone axe.'

Cook's body was eventually retrieved, in bits, and he was buried at sea. He was just 51 years old. His wife, Elizabeth lived to 94, but none of their six children produced any heirs to Cook's name.

It was said upon his death: 'His general knowledge was extensive and various... the most determined resolution, he pursued his object with unshaken perseverance... Cool and intrepid among dangers : patient and firm under difficulties and distress... In every situation he stood unrivalled and alone; on him all eyes were turned: he was our leading star, which at its setting left us involved in darkness and despair'.

If you can't find the book in your local marine book store, you can purchase it online by clicking here.

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNaiadWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Auckland On the Water Boat Show opens full of the Joys of Spring
The Auckland On the Water Boat Show enjoyed a beautiful Spring day for its opening. Despite the inclement weather that has been the New Zealand's daily fare for too long, the Auckland On the Water Boat Show enjoyed a beautiful Spring day for its opening. Today was the first of the four-day show and is also the first time that the Show has been held in the school holidays.
Posted on 29 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.II)
We looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear In Part One of getting to know Harken, we looked at how Grant Pellew became the MD here in Australia, and how they rigorously go about testing their gear. We also looked at some of the other brands Harken distributes in Australia and so we move on to the last category.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Amel - Do you fit the bill?
Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 It is certainly an interesting set of criterion. Perhaps it is equally as fascinating as the many features that go into either the Amel 55 or 64 and make them a definitive part of the quintessential bluewater cruiser armada. We’ll come to all of those in due course, but firstly we’ll tackle the hero image and why in so many ways, this explains, so, so much.
Posted on 21 Sep
Knowing Harken takes years and years (Pt.I)
You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. You could imagine that being familiar with all that Harken produces and stands for is a lengthy process. So if you were going to be the person at the top in Australia, it would be best for you to have immersed yourself in sailing from an early age. When you grew up, being one of the technical service team would be more than a handy apprenticeship, as it were.
Posted on 19 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Boat Books of the Month - How to Read Water and False Flags
How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to Sea & False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II. This month the Boatbooks Australia: Boat Books of the Month are How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea and False Flags: Disguised German Raiders of World War II.
Posted on 6 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The X Factor starring X-Yachts
X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. X-Yachts do indeed have plenty to sing about. Testament to that is the three-year-old Xp38 on display at the recent Sydney International Boat Show still looked brand new. This was no mooring minder either, but rather a boat that had gone up to Hamilton Island Race Week for each of those years and campaigned hard.
Posted on 31 Aug
The C Beetle Project
Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Every now and then something comes along your way and you just have to read it. Such is Phil Smidmore’s tale of Mick Miller and if I could be so bold as to implore you to read, then I know your life will be the better for it!
Posted on 30 Aug