Friday, June 10, 2005

I'm curious to know if dimensions for Dutch ships built before 1630's are known

I have wondered if dimensions are known for Dutch warship built prior to the 1630's. One for which we know length and beam, that was built in 1625, is the Noorderkwartier ship Eenhoorn. The depth in hold is not known, although we can estimate, based on the size in lasts. I have written about this, sometime in the last year or so. From looking at Ab Hoving's book about Witsen, it seems that something more is known. He has a table of dimensions and lasts towards the end of the book that looks promising. Oddly enough, there are some detailed armament lists extant for Rotterdam and Amsterdam ships from at least 1628. The Staet van Oorlog te Water for the years 1628, 1629, 1631, and 1633 all have such lists. The worst data is for Zeeland, as they had almost no information other captain's name and ship name. The best was for Rotterdam, as they often had the year the ship was built in the earlier lists. In the 1654 Staet, they only listed the years since the ship was built, and then used "Maes voeten", and didn't highlight the fact. That is what lead Vreugdenhil to publish misleading dimensions in his Dutch warship list. The list would lead you to believe that the ships were all in Amsterdam feet, but some of the Rotterdam ships were in Maas feet of about 308mm, divided into 12 inches. The Amsterdam foot was 283mm, and was divided into 11 inches.

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