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For my next build which is the Zeehaen 1639, a Dutch fluit used by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. But first some historical background information of a Fluit. Shipbuilders, skippers and other curious people, from near and from far, travelled to Hoorn in Noord Holland to look at the new ship. A prominent merchant, Pieter Janszoon Liorne, had turned his view of the ideal merchant vessel into reality. By the end of the sixteenth century there existed a ship type called a fluit, which had some specific characteristics. Seen from the side a fluit looks just like any old three-masted sailing ship. The mainmast and the foremast have square sails and the aftermost mizzenmast has a triangular lateen-sail occasionally supplemented with some smaller sails on the bowsprit and mizzenmast. The particularities of the fluit’s hull become apparent when seen from above or from astern. From above the outline of the hull appears as a rectangle box with slightly rounded corners. Seen in cross section the sides of the hull slope inwards, so-called ‘tumble-home’, which result in very narrow upper works. The rounded lower parts of the stern are crowned by a narrow flat transom, giving it a pronounced pear-shape. It might be that this shape, which stern-on gave the impression that the after works looked something like a thinly shaped glass, a flute, is the origin of the name. The Dutch fluit was a classic merchant ship of the 17th century. It was built to be economical in operation, carrying the largest cargo and smallest crew possible. The rigging was designed to be sailed and operated with proportionally small crews (12 to 13) , and its narrow upper deck was designed to evade Danish customs dues when passing through the sound in to the Baltic, where duties were levied according to the size of the breadth of the deck. There are several reasons for building a hull of this shape. Keeping the center of gravity low is perhaps the most obvious. The idea that the hull shape of the fluit was adjusted to cut costs probably derives from the general reputation of the Dutch merchants at the time. Creating a ship type that kept costs to a minimum becomes just another way to confirm their superiority and skill when it came to making profit. The fluit was a total success. From the end of the 16th century to the mid 18th century fluits were amongst the most common type of merchant vessels in Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea. In the Dutch Golden Age, 80% of the ocean going vessels were fluits and were built at an average of 400 to 500 annually. They were easy and cheap to build thanks to standardization of design as well as a technological improvements, such as the sawmill, which was invented by the Dutch. The fluit was a ‘multi-purpose’ vessel, a ship that with slight adjustments could meet a wide range of demands. Even if the term embraces a range of ships which share some important characteristics, there are variations with important differences. The size of fluits varied considerably. The smallest versions, sometimes referred to as the boot, were 86 feet at most (around 24m), whereas the largest versions were 140 feet (just over 39 m) and larger. Variations of the basic concept did not only affect the size, but included some special features connected to the trades in which these ships were used. Noortsvaarders or Houthaalders - Woodhauler was developed with ports in the bow and stern for loading long beams and timbers, They were of about 300-350 tons, with simple hulls and an armament of small guns. Ostervaarders, especially designed for the shallow harbours of the Baltic Sea. Fransvaerders, Spaensvaerders and the Straetsvaerders, so called because they were used in the trade with France, Portugal or Spain and the Mediterranean (through the straits). From the exterior, they differed from the other varieties through the beakhead The Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, VOC, (United East India Company), employed a number of fluits. Fluits were also used as whalers which are easy to distinguish in depictions as they have davits on the sides for lifting whaling boats. Next, a biography about Abel Tasman Marcus
Title: The Ships of Abel Tasman Author(s): Ab Hoving & Cor Emke with an introduction by Peter Sigmond Year: 2000 Publisher: Verloren, Hilversum, The Netherlands Language: English Edition: First ISBN: 90-6550-087-1 Pages: 144 Book Type: Softcover Extra: This box contains a book (Dutch, English or German), 40 printed drawings scale 1:75 and a cd-rom. The cd-rom includes Plans for both the Heemskerck - yacht and the Zeehaen - fluit for the following metric scales: 1:50, 1:87.5, 1:100 and 1:150. The plans are in HPLT format. Any decent CAD app. can read this. I use TurboCAD Deluxe 20 and it reads it well. The cd-rom also includes tabels in Microsoft Excel for Every measurement in Every scale and lots of pictures of the model, paintings of these types of ships and maps. Summary: As described in his preserved extract-journal, Abel Tasman had two ships under his command during his memorable voyage to the mysterious 'Southland' in 1642: the yacht 'Heemskerck' and the fluyt 'Zeehaen'. According to historian Peter Sigmond, head of the department of Dutch History of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, these ships can be placed in the same rank as ships like the 'Santa Maria', the 'Golden Hind' and the 'Endeavour'. Ab Hoving, head of the restoration department working for Sigmond, built models of these ships. Cor Emke has recorded the entire (experimental) building process on cad drawings. These drawings are not only printed but also recorded on cd-rom. This cd-rom enables the model builder to examine and print each part of the ship in a scale selected by himself. In the book to which the cd-rom belongs, Peter Sigmond describes the historical background of Tasman's expedition. Original illustrations from Tasman's journal, and paintings and pictures of yachts and fluyts illustrate the narrative. The book also offers an analysis of seventeenth-century shipbuilding; an account of how the models were built; a typology of the ships Tasman sailed with and a lot of information from which anyone interested can make his own choice in order to construct his model. My Personal Interest. Some of the modelers in this site know that my interests is in Dutch ships, preferably VOC and flat & round bottom boats. For a couple of years I have been looking for boats to scratch built. To start with I am going to built the Statenjacht "Utrecht". From there on I wanted something larger, challenging and historical. As I read anything about the VOC I have been reading a lot about Australia (Anthony van Diemens landt), New Zealand (Named after the Dutch Provence Zeeland) and Tasmania (last name of the explorer). So decided that the Ships of Abel Tasman would be a challenge and different. (I enjoy building boats that very few people built). I had difficulty obtaining the book, but found out that a member of my local nautical club, Bob F., had the book in possession and was willing to part with it. Purchased the book and have been reading it and studying the plans. The printed plans in the book are in scale 1:75 which is of a good size. If I am energetic enough I may do the boats in scale 1:50. I plan to do the jacht 'Heemskerck' first and when I have more experience with building do the fluit 'Zeehaen' last. The fluit looks so odd to me. Small waist (deck), big buttom (hull). Pear shaped boat with a large cargo bay near the waterline and a narrow deck. For the members of this site that do not know what the purpose of a fluit was is the following: The Dutch had to pay high taxes to Denmark which was assessed based on the area of the main deck and this is how the fluit came about. It was not built for conversion in wartime to a warship, so it was cheaper to build and carried twice the cargo, and could be handled by a smaller crew. Minimized or completely eliminated its armaments to maximize available cargo space. Construction by specialized shipyards using new tools made it half the cost of rival ships. These factors combined to sharply lower the cost of transportation for Dutch merchants, giving them a major competitive advantage. Another advantage was a shallow draft which allowed the vessel to bring cargo in and out of ports and down rivers that other vessels couldn't reach. The fluit gained such popularity that English merchants build similar looking ships. Here is a link of a person in Germany that built the Zeehaen. Excellent built. http://www.modelships.de/Fluyt-Zeehaen/Photos-ship-model-fluyt-Zeehaen_details.htm Thank you for reading. Marc