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Captain Cook's Endeavour will sail again.

A team of boatbuilders is turning back the clock to recreate the tubby converted coal ship explorer James Cook sailed from England to Australia more than 200 years ago.Business tycoon Alan Bond is spending $9.6 million on an authentic model of the vessel Cook and his men took to the ends of the known earth on his 1768-1771 journey, which led to British settlement of Australia.

"It's a real ship. Not just a Hollywood set," Endeavour project director John Longley told Reuters in June at the shed on the Fremantle foreshore where the ship is being built.

The ship is intended as the centerpiece for a National Maritime Museum at a dockland redevelopment project in Sydney.

Museum authorities originally approached Bond for a $10.4 million donation to mark this year's bicentenary of white settlement in Australia by building a floating shell unable to go to sea.

"That had absolutely no appeal to us," Longley stated.

Instead, the team assembled by Bond will spend two years building a robust sailing ship, a registered cargo vessel, in the western Australian town that last year hosted the America's Cup, one of yachting's richest and oldest regattas.

"We are building a real ship to sail from here to Sydney via virtually every Australian port. It will be a gift to the nation not just a gift to Sydney," said Longley, a veteran of 20 years of Bond challenges for the America's Cup.

Another member of the team, Steve Ward, jokes that he has worked on the construction of the two most important vessels in Australia's history - Australia II, the boat that ended 132 years of U.S. domination of the America's Cup in 1983 and Captain Cook's Endeavour.