Tuesday, May 11, 2004

More about the jacht Heemskerck

One other point that I wanted to make about the Heemskerck is that I saw a note saying that the Heemskerck was 60 lasts or 120 tons. I will explain why that does not seem reasonable. That well may be the stated size, but that does not match what I would calculate.

Lasts are a problematic measure, as I have written here and elsewhere. The formula is:

Lasts = Length x Beam x Hold / K

The main problem is that K is not fixed for all ships. The "patriarch" of the Dutch navy in the First Anglo-Dutch War was the Noorderkwartier ship, the Eenhoorn, built in 1625. The Eenhoorn was usually said to be measured at 200 lasts. Her dimensions were: 125ft x 29ft x 13ft (the hold is an estimate). That means that K, in this case, would be K=235.625.

The calculation for the Heemskerck would be: Lasts = 106 x 24 x 9 / K. If lasts were 100 then K would be 228.96, which is not unreasonable. If the the lasts were only 60, then the calculation would be 60 = 106 x 24 x 9 / K, where K=381.6, which is out of range. Ab Hoving, in his book about Nicolaes Witsen, has a table that lists dimensions, lasts, and the "factor" (what I am calling K). He gives the contemporary measurement for lasts, which is often just an estimation, not based on actual measurements. The range that he gives for K is from 178 to 350.

Why I believe that my estimate for K and the lasts is reasonable, is that there are examples that are very similar. The Zilver Ster (of 1601) had dimensions: 104ft x 25ft x 10ft, and measured 130 lasts. That would require a K=200.

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