First published by Seaside Books in 1988, this small book was intended as a memento for visitors to the landmark sites in Cook's career. Now, the original text has been expanded for this serialisation. Hopefully, this will provide more detail for those interested in James Cook's background and progress throughout his life and his subsequent achievements.
The cover & motif lettering were both designed and executed by Eddie Guy of Signart, Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
"Men Like Cook are rare as polished 1,000 carat diamonds." Author Chris Scott Wilson, raised in Cook's birthplace of Marton and a pupil of the Captain Cook Memorial School in the village, confesses he came late in life to an interest in the great man.
"Cook sailed round the world? In my naivety I thought anyone could do that. But later I read a lot about the pace and quality of life and the lack of precise latitude and longitude in the 18th century. I began to realise how dangerous it was to sail a tiny ship, barely more than 100 ft long, many thousands of miles in uncharted seas."
"Tomorrow was far more likely to bring sudden, painful death, or even worse, slow excruciating death from shipwreck or starvation than the prospect of a great discovery. Only then did I come to appreciate what Cook had achieved. Moreover, his abilities seemed endless - seamanship, leadership, courage, intelligence, diplomacy, invention and dogged persistence. He was ready to learn from his mistakes and knew when to cut his losses.
His three great voyages in effect laid the foundations of the British Empire and Commonwealth. Whether disproving geographers' theories of landmasses long thought to exist or discovering previously unknown islands and continents, he always brought back results. He drew charts so accurate that few faults can be found in them even today, using 21st century satellite technology.
He was in the front rank of those 18th century men who sought to push outwards the barriers of knowledge so that man could better understand his environment.
Besides covering Cook's childhood at Marton and Great Ayton and his early training for the sea at Staithes and Whitby, the new book gives due weight to his early achievements in North America. As a sailing master, Cook charted the St Lawrence, laying the foundations for Wolfe's success at Quebec. His later work on the St Lawrence seaway was accepted a s the Admiralty standard for 100 years. Followed by promotion to Marine Surveyor, he went on to spend five years mapping the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador, during which he also discovered coal deposits. Even this unglamorous work had its hazards and Cook barely escaped with his life on at least two occasions.
article from The Cleveland Adveriser
extracted from an article published in the Cleveland Advertiser on the release of Captain Cook, Man of the Sea