‘After having twice been driven back by heavy south-west gales, Her Majesty’s Ship Beagle, a ten-gun brig under the command of Captain Fitzroy, sailed from Devonport on the 27th December, 1813.’ With these words, Charles Darwin began his account of the voyage that was to change his life and ours. Almost 190 years later, we know a great deal about Darwin and his adventures on the HMS Beagle, but almost nothing about the ship. Hardly some dashing frigate or three-decker ablaze with guns and glory, the Beagle was, a coffin brig , more likely to sink than make two successful circumnavigations of the Earth. For such a famous ship,surprisingly little is known about the Beagle. Keith Thomson has created a biography of the ship – her construction, her voyages, and even her final resting place.