This reality-based series chronicles an eight-person volunteer team (seven men and one woman) as they attempt to recreate the journey made by fur traders of the Hudson's Bay Company during the 1840's by travelling from Winnipeg to Hudson Bay. The trip covers a distance of 1200 kilometers and takes the team though the heart of the Canadian wilderness. The crew members possess only the food and equipment used during the period, including a 40-foot wooden York Boat.

Quest for the Bay - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2002-01-06

Quest for the Bay - York boat - Netflix

The York boat was a type of inland boat used by the Hudson's Bay Company to carry furs and trade goods along inland waterways in Rupert's Land, the watershed stretching from Hudson Bay to the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. It was named after York Factory, the headquarters of the HBC, and modeled after the Orkney yole (itself a descendant of the Viking longship).

Quest for the Bay - History and Economics - Netflix

York boats were preferred as cargo carriers to the birchbark canoes used by the North West Company, because they were larger, carried more cargo and were safer in rough water. The boat's heavy wood construction was a significant advantage when travelling waterways where the bottom or sides of the hull were likely to strike rocks or ice. Canoes then were commonly constructed with soft hulls of birch bark or animal hide and were vulnerable to tears and punctures. The solid, all-wood hull of the York boat could simply bounce off or grind past obstacles that could easily inflict fatal damage on a soft-hulled vessel. That advantage became a disadvantage, though, when portaging was necessary. The boat was far too heavy to carry and the crew had to cut a path through the brush, lay poplar rollers and drag the boat overland. Crewing a York boat was an arduous task, and those who chose this life faced “unending toil broken only by the terror of storms,” according to Sir John Franklin. The York boat had a length of about 14 metres (46 ft) and the largest could carry more than 6 tonnes (13,000 lb) of cargo. It had a pointed bow, a flat bottom, and a stern angled upward at 45°, making beaching and launching easier. The boat was propelled by oars and by a square canvas sail. It was steered by a long steering pole or, when under sail, by a rudder. It had a crew of between six and eight men. The first boat was built in 1749, and by the late 18th century there were boat-building stations from James Bay to Fort Chipewyan. The advent of the steamboat in the 19th century signalled the end for the York boat. The very narrow Echimamish River flows from the Nelson River to the Hayes River, which thus connects Norway House, Manitoba with York Factory on Hudson Bay at the mouth of the Hayes. In some places the Echimamish is so narrow that the oars of the York boats touched the ground on either side. The route included portages around rapids on the Hayes of up to 3 kilometres (1.9 mi). Crews hauled a York boat 15 metres (49 ft) long and up to 12 tonnes (26,000 lb) of supplies or cargo.

Quest for the Bay - References - Netflix