IT has been described as the greatest survival story of all time.
And today a team of adventurers, including a Hampshire man, are on their way in their bid to recreate Sir Ernest Shackleton’s epic row after his ship the Endurance was crushed by pack ice and sank in the Antarctic.
The polar explorer and five other men sailed 800 miles from the uninhabited Elephant Island to South Georgia to get help for their comrades.
Now polar veteran Tim Jarvis and five fellow adventurers – including one from Lymington – are attempting to become the first team to successfully re-enact Shackleton’s journey.
They will make the voyage in the 22ft Alexandra Shackleton, which is currently being towed to Elephant Island. They were expected to reach their departure point last night.
Expedition Named after the explorer’s grand-daughter, the boat is an exact replica of the craft used by Shackleton and his crew in 1916.
Jarvis has been planning the expedition since 2008, when Alexandra approached him with the idea of honouring what mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary – the man who conquered Everest in 1953 – called “the greatest survival story of all time”.
The boat’s skipper is 33-year-old Nick Bubb, a professional offshore sailor from Lymington.
Nick, a member of Team Russia in 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race, said: “In the extreme conditions we are undoubtedly going to encounter, the only thing you can do is try to work with the elements – try to sail the boat directly down the waves, try to adjust the speed of the boat and try to hang on, survive and keep the crew safe.”
The Shackleton Epic crew are relying on the same technology used by the original expedition almost 100 years ago.
They are also armed with modern safety equipment and radios, plus a support vessel, but say these will only be used if the Alexandra Shackleton gets into serious trouble.
Using only a sextant, Shackleton and his crew located their intended destination and landed on the deserted south western side of South Georgia after surviving hurricane force winds.
They then faced the seemingly impossible task of crossing the island’s mountainous interior without climbing gear or a map.
After a perilous three-day trek they reached a Norwegian whaling station at Stromness and arranged for their friends to be rescued.
Against the odds all 28 men survived, including those left behind on Elephant Island after the others went in search of help.