The Endurance was the three-masted barquentine in which Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed for the Antarctic on the 1914 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. She was launched in 1912 from Sandefjord in Norway and was crushed by ice, causing her to sink, three years later in the Weddell Sea off Antarctica.
Shackleton sailed with Endurance from Plymouth, England on August 6, 1914 and set course for Buenos Aires, Argentina. This was Endurance's first major cruising since her completion and amounted to a shakedown cruise. The trip across the Atlantic took more than two months. Built for the ice, her hull was considered by many of its crew too rounded for the open ocean.
On October 26, 1914 Endurance sailed from Buenos Aires to what would be her last port of call, the whaling station at Grytviken on the island of South Georgia, arriving on November 5. She left Grytviken on December 5, 1914 heading for the southern regions of the Weddell Sea.
Two days after leaving from South Georgia, Endurance encountered polar pack ice and progress slowed down. For weeks Endurance worked her way through the pack, averaging less than 30 miles (48 km) per day. By January 15, 1915 Endurance was within 200 miles (320 km) of its destination, Vahsel Bay. However by the following day heavy pack ice was sighted in the morning and in the afternoon a gale developed. Under these conditions it was soon evident progress could not be made, and Endurance took shelter under the lee of a large grounded berg. During the next two days Endurance moved back and forth under the sheltering protection of the berg.
On January 18 the gale began to moderate and Endurance set the topsail with the engine at slow. The pack had blown away. Progress was made slowly until hours later Endurance encountered the pack once more. It was decided to move forward and work through the pack, and at 5pm Endurance entered it. However it was noticed that this ice was different from what had been encountered before. The ship was soon amongst thick but soft brash ice. The ship became beset. The gale now increased its intensity and kept blowing for another six days from a northerly direction towards land. By January 24, the wind had completely compressed the ice in the whole Weddell Sea against the land. Endurance was icebound. All that could be done was to wait for a southerly gale that would start pushing, decompressing and opening the ice in the other direction. Instead the days passed and the pack remained unchanged.
Endurance drifted for months beset in the ice in the Weddell Sea. The changing conditions of the Antarctic spring brought such pressure that Endurance was crushed over the period from October 27, 1915. On the morning of November 21, 1915, the Endurance's bow began to sink under the ice and she was abandoned.