The First Fleet – the creation of a nation. Rob Mundle, bestselling maritime biographer of Bligh, Flinders and Cook, is back on the ocean to tell one of the great stories of expedition under sail: the extraordinary eight-month, 17,000-nautical-mile voyage of the First Fleet. With customary sweep and swell, Mundle puts you alongside 48-year-old Captain Arthur Phillip on the quarterdeck of the Royal Navy escort HMS Sirius, as he commands his small armada of eleven ships, carrying over 1400 men, women and children, to the other side of the world. At the heart of Mundle’s story of the First Fleet is the extraordinary seamanship of the masters and their crews in their day-to-day workings on individual ships, battling all that nature could throw at them – from disastrous conditions to disease – in order to fulfil the grand plans and strategic visions of politicians and authorities. To arrive in Sydney Cove in January 1788 with all ships intact and such a low loss of life is a tribute to Phillip, his officers and crews, and to the wherewithal and brilliance of eighteenth-century seamanship.