Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, April 28-29, 1916: “A thousand times it appeared as though the ‘James Caird’ must be engulfed. . . .”

–from Ernest Shackleton’s account “South”—

“A severe south-westerly gale on the fourth day out forced us to heave to. I would have liked to have run before the wind, but the sea was very high and the ‘James Caird’ was in danger of broaching to and swamping. The delay was vexatious, since up to that time we had been making sixty or seventy miles a day, good going with our limited sail area. We hove to under a double-reefed mainsail and our little jigger, and waited for the gale to blow itself out. During that afternoon we saw bits of wreckage, the remains probably of some unfortunate vessel that had failed to weather the strong gales south of Cape Horn. The weather conditions did not improve, and on the fifth day out the gale was so fierce that we were compelled to take in the double-reefed mainsail and hoist our small jib instead. . . .

“Thus our boat took most of the seas more or less end on. Even then the crests of the waves often would curl right over us and we shipped a great deal of water. A thousand times it appeared as though the ‘James Caird’ must be engulfed, but the boat lived.”

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