On 25 November 1787, with the longest and final leg of the voyage ahead of them, Captain Phillip divided the fleet in two and sailed ahead with the four fastest ships. Phillip transferred from HMS Sirius to HMS Supply and took with him Scarborough, Alexander and Friendship. He also took with him men who would be useful in preparing the camp: carpenters, blacksmiths and sawyers.
Lieutenant Philip Gidley King wrote sceptically of Phillip’s plan in his journal: ‘the governor flatters himself that he shall arrive at the place of our destination (Botany Bay) a fortnight before the Transports in which time he will be able to make his observations on the place whether it is a proper spot for the settlement’.
Bad weather thwarted Phillip’s plan and Supply arrived at Botany Bay on the 18 January, just 48 hours ahead of the slowest ships in the fleet.