There remain only four operational 19th Century barques in the world. And only one aboard which any fare-paying member of the public can be a passenger. She’s called the James Craig and she berths in Sydney Harbour!

There remain only four operational 19th Century barques (three-masted sailing ships) in the world. And only one aboard which any fare-paying member of the public can be a passenger of a weekend. She’s called the James Craig, she berths in Sydney Harbour and – as the good people at the Sydney Heritage Fleet put it so beautifully – she’s a tangible link between modern Australia and the days of sail during which this country developed into nationhood.

Built in 1874, fans of big-sword epic The Highlander will be thrilled to learn that the James Craig was originally called the Clan Macleod. Far more than a mere replica, she’s a complete restoration of a hard-working vessel that has rounded Cape Horn 23 times. In 2003 she was given the World Ship Trust’s Maritime Heritage Award for such an exemplary restoration.

Outings are $195 for a six-hour cruise (less in winter and concessions apply), taking in Sydney Harbour and venturing out to sea with a full complement of up to 50 crew and 80 passengers. As a paying customer, you can help with the deck work, haul on lines to trim the sails, join in sea shanties – or simply sit on your backside and do nothing. Morning, afternoon tea and lunch are provided, and whale sightings are common at the right time of year.

Where // The James Craig berths at Wharf 7, Pyrmont, Sydney. 02 9298 3888, www.shf.org.au

Did you know? // There is another, more famous example of a barque vessel important to Australia’s history, though at the time her designation was spelled a little differently: Captain Cook sighted the east coast of Australia in the HM “Bark” Endeavour in 1770.

 

Enjoy this article?

You can find it in Issue 20 along with
loads of other great stories and tips.

BUY THIS ISSUE