The Voyage of the Royal Pudding Cup & HMS Sheepskin Flask

Drawing by Thomas Parker.
Daily post prompt: Read the story of Richard Parker and Tom Dudley. Is what Dudley did defensible? What would you have done?

OK, let’s read the wiki, shall we?

On July 4, 1776, Richard Parker and Tom Dudley set sail from England as part of a fleet of twenty-seven long ships in the name of her majesty Queen Clancy II.[1] Their mission was to search for treasure to fund the August War as the June War against Finlandia[2] had depleted the royal coffers. Parker was captain of HMS Royal Pudding Cup and Dudley captained the HMS Sheepskin Flask.[3]

A sketch of the HMS Sheepskin Flask by Tom Dudley.

The fleet intended to raid the Spanish galleons at the Isthmus of Panama[4] and steal their gold. In early September, over halfway through the voyage, the fleet was ravaged by a superstorm,[5] sinking most of the long ships and tossing the rest hither and yon. When the storm cleared, Parker and Dudley found that they were the only two vessels in the vicinity. They had been blown off course by roughly 17,000 miles and presently found themselves near what is now known as Australia.[6]

A–starting point. B–intended destinationC–approximate route and end point
A–starting point. B–intended destination. C–approximate route and end point.

Parker and Dudley thought they had fallen off the edge of the earth since no one, besides the native inhabitants, had ever been to Australia. The two Englishmen named it Parkdudland.[7] Fortunately, the name did not stick. After many years exploring the continent of Parkdudland, planting flags and naming flowers, the two decided to return to England, navigating by the stars.[8]


Parker and Dudley followed the stars and sailed north for England. After 4,597 days at sea, roughly off the foot of Africa,[9] the two ships encountered a Kraken.[10]

Image from Clash of the Kraken: The Voyage of The Royal Pudding Cup & The HMS Sheepskin Flask, Universal Studios (1981).

The Kraken gave them tea and biscuits. Mr. Kraken was tired of being misunderstood as a horrible sea monster. He had feelings, too. Unfortunately, for the Kraken, Dudley and Parker never made it back to England to tell tale of what a lovely host he was.

In 1980, the Royal Pudding Cup was discovered by divers off of the coast of Belize.[11] In it, were Parker’s meticulous records of the journey and detailed drawings of the Kraken.[12] The HMS Sheepskin Flask’s final resting place still has not been found.

Drawing by Thomas Parker.
Drawing by Richard Parker.

In 1981, Parker and Dudley’s voyage was made into a major Hollywood motion picture called Clash of the Kraken: The Voyage of The Royal Pudding Cup & The HMS Sheepskin Flask[13] (1981) from Universal Studios.[14] It won the Academy Award[15] for Best Special Effects.[16]

I think, if I were in Parker or Dudley’s shoes, I might not have attempted to sail back to England. I probably would have stayed in Parkdudland forever. Then again, had I done that, I never would have met the delightful Kraken nor had an Academy Award winning Hollywood motion picture made of me either, so who knows.