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Research yacht Penola under sail

Catalogue record

Creator: Rymill, John, 1905-1968

Object Source: Southern lights; the official account of the British Graham Land expedition, 1934-1937, opposite p. 42

Date of creation : 1938

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Format : Book

For his British Graham Land Expedition John Rymill purchased an auxilliary-powered Brittany fishing schooner to take his expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula. The ship was manned by an amateur crew under the command of Royal Navy Lieutenant R E D Ryder. The Chief Engineer was Lieutenant-Commander H Millett. The vessel was renamed Penola after Rymill's home town in South Australia.

Penola was a heavily built vessel well adapted for sailing in polar seas. It also had a large carrying capacity for its size. Built in 1905, Penola was 103 feet at the waterline with a 24 foot beam and drew 14 feet. Her tonnage was 130 tons. She was rigged as a three-masted topsail schooner and equipped with two 50-horsepower Junker diesel engines.

In 1985 Colin Bertram wrote that the name Penola caused some problems to the expedition members, as the small South Australian town was unheard of, and particularly in an era when exploration ships were usually named for a concept such as Endurance, Endeavour, or Discovery.

The question of the amateur crew also raised some concerns, but all worked well with the best interests of the expedition at heart.


Related names

Rymill, John, 1905-1968

British Graham Land expedition, 1932-1937

Penola (Schooner)

Further reading

Rymill, John, Southern lights; the official account of the British Graham land expedition, 1934-1937, ... London: Chatto and Windus, 1938

Bechervaise, John, Arctic and Antarctic: the will and the way of John Riddoch Rymill Huntingdon [England]: Bluntisham Books, 1995

The explorers Penola, S. Aust.: Penola Branch, National Trust of South Australia, 1996 John Rymill by Andrew Rymill

Bertram, Colin and Stephenson, 'Alfred Archipelago to peninsula: a presentation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the British Graham land Expedition 1934-37 to Western Antarctica', Geographical journal, vol. 151, (2) July 1985, pp. 155-167


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