Shackleton's Lifeboat: J. CAIRD
"After my 2013 expedition I was left with more questions than answers about this remarkable little boat. How did Shackleton's men retrofit an ordinary lifeboat into a survival capsule? We decided to find out"
~ Seb Coulthard
The J.Caird is the most accurate seaworthy replica anywhere in the world!
In 2014, I decided to build a new replica of the James Caird, a boat far more accurate than the expedition vessel 'Alexandra Shackleton'. I wanted to challenge myself and see if it was possible to find new answers to old questions surrounding Shackleton's finest hour. In the end we created something utterly unique.
Shackleton’s greatest example of human endurance is encapsulated within the timbers of the J. CAIRD but, how was she built? Why did they choose certain materials over others? How did Worsley sail into wind during a hurricane? How did they survive a 90ft rogue wave? I needed answers so, I went back to the only people who could build a 'blank canvas' hull: IBTC Lowestoft.
The achievements, innovations and sacrifices of all polar explorers of the Heroic Age are a valued and important part of the world’s cultural heritage and scientific community. The addition of this new replica boat to the international collection of historic vessels serves to better represent the exploits of polar pioneers and sheds new light on Sir Ernest Shackleton and his greatest adventure - the stuff of legend!
The J. Caird is a living encyclopaedic document, vast in nature. It teaches people without words, spoken or written; it teaches without pictures. It is a full-scale time machine that transports its crew back to a time when man depended on his resourcefulness rather than on his digital gadget full of apps and easy solutions. This boat allows us to glimpse back into the past to an age before mobile phones, computers, and other comforts of modern living - by stepping aboard YOU make physical connections with the past. Words confined to dusty printed textbook without illustrations are all of sudden filled with meaning and inspiration.
The J. CAIRD creates a type of experimental learning which calls upon information already known to most people: what is it like to be cold, or feel wet, tired and hungry. Couple those feelings with the pitching and rolling of a real boat, and you have some of the most difficult conditions for survival at sea.
Sir Ernest Shackleton possessed a kind of stoic optimism and soft leadership which reinforced the will to live amongst those who followed him. Strength over adversity by any means is the greatest gateway to higher levels of learning. The CAIRD will allow you to experience Shackleton's finest hour as though you have fallen through a time warp.
The vessel you see pictured here is the most faithfull seaworthy replica of Sir Ernest Shackleton's legendary lifeboat anywhere in the world. She was constructed by the International Boat Building Academy of Lowestoft, England to the original Frank Worsley specification, and later retrofitted and equipped for sea by Shackleton Legacy Ltd. After many years of archival research, an epic expedition to recreate the voyage in 2013, this boat is the culmination of years of extensive research.