Both voyages

Atlantic Route

Journeys to India were very variable. Anything from about 4 months, depending on wind and the ships involved. Sometimes they took the direct route. When Admiral Rainier first went to take up his command in 1794 he astonished everyone by getting there with a convoy in twenty-three weeks without touching land and with no deaths from scurvy, and no loss in ships. Usually they would stop at St Helena or the Cape of Good Hope (assuming it was in British hands at the time). Sometimes they went across to Brazil first to pick up the trade winds to take them back down across the southern Atlantic.

Because of the distances involved it is difficult to show on a single map the extent of Midshipman Conants travels.

On the left are the routes taken on the two voyages chronicled in the journal.

From Great Britain to the southern tip of Africa it is approximately 7000 miles, then to the tip of India another 4,600. The first voyage in his journal covered well over 8000 miles in all, whilst the second a further 8,700. (Distances taken from Google Earth.)

J E Conant joined the Navy on 21st April, 1794, he left Great Britain on 4th May 1794 in the Suffolk commanded by Captain (later Admiral) Peter Rainier, together with four or five frigates to escort a convoy to India. J E Conant had returned to Great Britain by August 1798. The journey both ways would have been round the tip of Africa, as 1795 was well before the building of the Suez Canal.

Thanks to Alan Cohen for information about Admiral Rainier and his nephew and the Admirals initial journey to India in 1794. Alan is writing a biography of Admiral Sir Nesbit Josiah Willoughby (1777-1849) who was active as a Captain in the Indian Ocean at about the same time as Midshipman Conant was sailing in Swift and Centurion.


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