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
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.