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The Unfolding of the Voyage

It should be noted that the time spent in port might seem long (several weeks), but in fact it represents only 28 percent of the total length of the voyage, and the sailors are able to go ashore only on rare occasions (Chile). The duration of the voyage was predicted to be four years, but it actually lasted just under three years—from July 1785 to May 1788. The average sailing speed, on a long stretch and following the shortest route, is about 3 knots. That corresponds to a speed of about 6 knots (a little more than 10 km/h) when there is wind. We lament three serious accidents: at the Baie des Français in Alaska (21drowned ); in the Samoan Islands (11killed); and at Vanikoro, where the rest of the crew, the last added at Macao and Manila, disappeared, probably two-thirds at the time of the shipwreck and the rest later.