Almost a hundred years ago Ernest Shackleton, leader of a 1916 sailing expedition to Antarctica, whose sailing vessel was crushed by the ice and the crew had made their way to Elephant Island, made one of the most inspirational journeys by sailing boat in the history of the world to rescue his crew.
James Caird replica, the Alexandra Shackleton, ready to sail in January 2013
In January next year Tim Jarvis, environmental scientist, adventurer and author as well as sailor, with five crew, will attempt to recreate the mammoth sail from Elephant Island to South Georgia in an open boat to ask for the rescue of his men left behind on Elephant Island.
The 22.d’ (6.9m) replica vessel, The Alexandra Shackleton, named for Sir Ernest’s granddaughter and patron of the Shackleton Epic was launched in Weymouth, UK on 19 March this year. The six men, including Jarvis, will depart from Elephant Island in January to attempt the voyage and the mountain crossing of South Georgia in tribute to Shackleton, a feat that has never been successfully recreated.
'This expedition marks the centenary of Shackleton’s voyage and honours his legacy. The message of individuals putting differences aside and working collectively to overcome insurmountable problems has continuing resonance today, whether tackling climate change or other global issues,' Tim Jarvis, environmental scientist, said.
The expedition will use 1916 technology, food and equipment to recreate Shackleton’s legendary journey, which has
never been successfully repeated. The only concession to the use of period equipment will be the storage of modern
emergency equipment on board. A support vessel similar to Shackleton’s Endurance will follow the voyage and the
expedition will be filmed for a documentary as part of the Shackleton centenary activities.
Sail training vessel TS Pelican has been selected as the support vessel for the re-enactment.
Tim Jarvis said that he was extremely pleased that TS Pelican would form part of the historic recreation event:
'TS Pelican is almost identical in size to The Endurance and the ship will provide exceptional communications, safety and filming platform for the Shackleton Epic expedition. We envisage that TS Pelican will ‘shadow’ our boat, a replica of the James Caird, as we sail from Elephant Island to South Georgia in January next year.'
'It is the perfect sail training vessel to form part of the expedition and its presence in the Southern Ocean will provide a level of security that Shackleton and his men would have welcomed.'
Sponsors and supporters:
The Shackleton Epic has been supported to date by global engineering and environment firm, Arup, Aurora Expeditions, James Caird Asset Management, Dean and Reddyhoff Marinas and other donors.
The Shackleton Epic aims to generate awareness of the importance of preserving Antarctica’s marine environment. The crew will film the ice melt in the region and Jarvis, who works with Arup Australasia, will compare climactic conditions faced by his crew with those Shackleton and his men experienced 100 years ago.
'Whereas Shackleton’s goal was to save his men from Antarctica, we now find ourselves trying to save Antarctica from man - a very unfortunate irony,' Jarvis said.
About Tim Jarvis:
Cast in the mould of an explorer from the heroic age, Jarvis possesses an extraordinary adventure and leadership
resume. In 2007 he completed a re-enactment of Sir Douglas Mawson’s 1912 trek across Antarctica, using the same
clothing, equipment and starvation rations to test the theory of whether Mawson had to cannibalise his fallen colleague
to survive. Among other achievements Jarvis also holds records for the fastest unsupported journey to the South Pole
and the longest unsupported journey in Antarctica in 1999. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for services to conservation and the environment and as an explorer.