Monday, April 16, 2007

Dutch ship sizes

When you realize that the Maas foot is very similar in size to an English foot of 305mm, then us English-speaking people should be able to better understand how large Dutch ships were in the mid-17th Century. The Dutch flagship at the Battle of Lowestoft, the Eendracht, was 150ft x 38ft x 15ft, in Amsterdam feet of 283mm. In Maas feet, the dimensions were 137-1/2ft x 34-1/4ft x 13-1/2ft. Just for comparison, the Duke of York's flagship, the Royal Charles, was 131ft on the keel x 42ft-6in outside the planking x 18ft-6in depth of hold. The Eendracht was measured from stem to sternpost. I would estimate that the gundeck length for the Royal Charles was about 167ft. That is about 30ft longer than the Eendracht. The beam is much greater, although the Dutch ship was measured inside the planking. I would estimate the beam outside of the planking to be about 36ft, in English feet. Of course, the Royal Charles was an 80 gun First Rate, while the Eendracht was more like a small 3rd Rate, with 73 guns. The lower tier on the Royal Charles had 20-cannons-of-7 (42pdr) and 6-demi-cannons (32 pdr). The Eendracht had just 3-36pdr guns and 22-24pdr guns, considerably less than the English combination of 32 and 42pdr guns. Anyway, no wonder that Lord Obdam, Jacob Wassenaer, ultimately lost his duel at Lowestoft with the Duke of York. The Eendracht exploded, eventually, killing Jacob Wassenaer and almost all his crew. Frank Fox says that five men were saved. Sources:
  1. Frank Fox, A Distant Storm: the Four Days' Battle of 1666, 1996
  2. Frank Fox, Great Ships: The Battlefleet of King Charles II, 1980
  3. Ron van Maanen, unpublished manuscript "Dutch Warships 1600-1800", undated, but circa 1992

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