The ship is a 3rd scale model of HM Bark Endeavour, which is well known as the ship of Captain James Cook, who was born near Whitby. The Endeavour, originally named the "Earl of Pembroke" was built as a Whitby "Cat", or collier, designed to carry coal from the north-east of England to London. It was purchased by the Admiralty for just under £3,000 to carry an expedition, led by Cook, to Tahiti, the purpose of which was to observe the passage of the planet Venus across the face of the sun. The "Earl of Pembroke" was fitted out at Deptford andd renamed "HM Bark Endeavour".
Although the image that history would like us to view Captain Cook with is that of a romantic adventurer, the history of HM Bark Endeavour is somewhat more colourful and aromatic! At the time of its service as a collier, the alum industry was in full swing, and during the processing of the alum a gentle acid was required. Science not being as far advanced as it is today, and with no synthetic or natural acids available, it was found that uric acid did the job perfectly.
The Whitby ship owners, always ready to make a profit, realised that instead of bringing their ships back with empty holds, the ideal situation was to bring back something Whitby was in short supply of and needed. So they would buy and return with barrels of urine which they would then sell on to the owners of the alum diggings.
When the Admiralty bought and renamed the "Earl of Pembroke", its design and hull structure immediately gave away its former use. And naturally the sailors in the Royal Navy had various very colourful names for these vessels, none of which was in any way romantic!
The replica Bark Endeavour sails on pleasure cruises from Whitby. For interesting information about it, including how it was built, its cruises and the history of the original, see Link
With thanks to Mr. Ian Hudson, of Whitby, for providing this information.