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Sir Ernest Shackleton's lifeboat returned to England in 1919 after it was rescued by Norwegian whalers from South Georgia. After Shackleton's untimely death in 1922, the boat was gifted to his old school at Dulwich College, London, where it can be viewed by appointment.
The J. CAIRD was constructed by IBTC Lowestoft with final deck fittings embodied by Seb Coulthard, and rigging by Philip Rose-Taylor. The J.CAIRD is the most faithful seaworthy replica of Sir Ernest Shackleton's legendary lifeboat to be found anywhere in the world.
Expedition Vessel: 'Alexandra Shackleton'
The 'Alexandra Shackleton' was a 23 ft long, wooden replica boat constructed for the 'Shackleton Epic Expedition' by the International Boatbuilding Training Academy in Lowestoft, with final fittings and sea trial carried out by Seb Coulthard, Philip Rose Taylor and Rob Goodhart. This modern day expedition vessel became the vehicle which would convey the 'Shackleton Epic' team from Elephant Island to South Georgia in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Seb was one of 6-men who embarked on the expedition, and the subject of the highly acclaimed PBS docmentary 'Chasing Shackleton'.
Other replica lifeboats
There have been several replica boats constructed over the years. The most notable and accomplished of all these boats are listed below:
- Sir Ernest Shackleton: built by Scotsman Trevor Potts for the 'In The Wake of Shackleton Expedition, 1993-94. This boat is now on display outside the main entrance of the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), a sub-department of the Department of Geography in the University of Cambridge.
- Tom Crean: built by Irish adventurer Jarlath Cunnane for the South Aris Expedition, 1997. This remarkable expedition set sail into the inhospitable Southern Ocean only to loose their boat on the high seas after repeated capsize events.
- James Caird II: built by German explorer Arved Fuchs for the Shackleton 2000 Expedition, 1999-2000. The James Caird II was among the first exhibits added to the International Maritime Museum in Hamburg when it was opened.
- James Caird III: built by Boston sea-captain Bob Wallace for the IMAX movie 'Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure' 1999-2000. Bob's first replica boat was sadly lost near Elephant Island after much filming had been completed. He subsequently built a second boat which was purchased by the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) in 2008 as is now on permanent display at the Carr Maritime Gallery, South Georgia Museum, Grytviken.
- James Caird VI: built for 'Shackleton' (a TV mini-series, 2002) starring Kenneth Branagh. The replica lifeboat would eventually go to the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich for display until removed from the collection in 2016-17.
- James Caird V: built by Chilean shipwright Juan Matassi for the Nao Victoria Museum, Punta Arenas, 2011.
- James Caird VI: built for 'Shackleton's Captain' (a TV movie, 2012) starring Craig Parker. The replica lifeboat is now on display at the Oamaru Adventure Bookshop, New Zealand (South Island)
- Alexandra Shackleton: built by the International Boatbuilding Training Academy and Seb Coulthard for 'Shackleton Epic Expedition' lead by polar explorer Tim Jarvis AM. Boatbuilding began as early as 2009 with an eventual expedition vessel delivered in 2012-13. A six man team would sail the boat from Elephant Island to South Georgia using 1916 period resources only; the most faithful recreation of Shackleton's boat journey to date, the subject of a Discovery Channel series titled 'Shackleton: Death or Glory' and 'Chasing Shackleton' (PBS USA)
- J. Caird: built by the International Boatbuilding Training Academy and Seb Coulthard for Shackleton Legacy Ltd, 2014-16. This replica boat is the most faithful seaworthy recreation of Sir Ernest Shackleton's lifeboat anywhere in the world, currently looking for a new permanent home as a museum exhibit. The 'J.Caird' featured in 'Mysteries in the Museum: Race to the Antarctic' presented by adventurer and historian Don Wildman.