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Dutch Whaler by Jean-Pierre - Sergal - modified 17th century flute


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I had started some build log in the former edition of this forum, and for a number of reasons I did not rewrite it in the new version.  Some of the reasons (excuses):

- A lot of work involved

- Not familiar with the new procedures to insert pics

- Long term inactivity on the project

- Moderate interest from other members…

 

I have now restarted the build and will re-post some of the previously sent pictures, if I manage to tackle the pictures insertion.  Anyway this is the model as it looks now. 

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Any critical or better, constructive meaning is more than welcome, bearing in mind that not a lot can be changed to what is already done.

 

Question.  I want to give the ship a name.  For a number of reasons I will explain later, this will be “The Pole Star” or rather in Dutch “De Poolster”.  Problem is that Dutch spelling of the 17th century is not something I am familiar with, so the name could also have been written Poolsterre or stern or sterne.  Any idea from the Dutch colleagues?

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The ship

Flutes, or « fluitschepen » in Dutch, were a success story of the Dutch (and North European) merchant navies in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Not only were they used as pure merchantmen, but also as warships and as warship escorts, and yes, as whalers at the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century.

 

Their characteristic round belly allowed maximum freights for a limited draught, and their narrow deck were designed to limit taxes (which were then calculated on the deck surface).  They were also built as cheap as possible, and were therefore mostly single skinned. Their fairly simplified rigging (two sails per mast) could be handled by a reduced crew, which would limit the running costs of course

 

This is  a very important ship type, and it is strange that there are only two kits available of a flute.  The first one is by Euromodel of Como and represents the German ship Derflinger.  The other one, Baleinera Olandese (Dutch Whaler), is by Sergal and is freely based on a ship model in the Rotterdam maritime museum.

 Here are 2 paintings from Abraham Storch which are as is usual with Dutch painters of the time, packed with interesting and authentic details, and to which I will try and modify the kit.

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The Sergal kit

This dates back at least to the early seventies.

The promising box art initially showed a very promising model with a more than adequate display board which was not included in the kit,

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 hence their decision to create another, more honest box art

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Anyone interested in the contents of the kitcan go to the site of modeller Mr Martijn Onderwater, who made a very interesting pictorial build log at https://plus.google.com/photos/104230149111754248634/albums/5215002936048254657?banner=pwa.

 

The kit allows a pretty good model to be built: everything is there except the display stand (and the sails).  The wood is of a good quality and there is more than enough of it. All pieces except the battens and the masts of course are pre-cut in plywood.  Of course, plywood has the big advantage not to break easily, but is ugly to use for items that are to be left natural wood. The deck furniture is an example of this.  I choose either to paint them or to replace these items

The metal parts are of poor quality and they have to be modified or bent in many cases to fit the hull.

 

 

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Bonjour Jean-Pierre,

 

Although I abhor all the ships and weapons that are used to kill whales, I will be following your Build Log with a lot of interests. It is indeed a nice ship with some beautiful curves that you got....

 

Yves

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Thanks for your nice comment, Nils. I suppose I'kk use the modern spelling: anyway the name will hardly be visible.

 

Here is a first slice of the build so far

 

 

The build

I chose to modify the kit to look as much as what I think a ship of this kind may have looked like.  I used as many references as I could get without lifting my butt from my computer seat, so I literally plundered the net to find:

- pictures of built ships (or partly built). Of particular interest were the pictures of the very nice  -although half built- model of member Aliluke, which I found very inspiring.

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Another model was presented as a build log by Ad Brouwer, I think, on this (former) site, and also on a Dutch forum.  The chosen colour scheme I found very interesting.  This model turned out to be one of the best finished models built from this kit.

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-  Then there is the original model of which a series of very poorly lighted pictures are available on the Rotterdam museum site.  This depicts an armed flute ship, not a whaler.  I shows rather simplified features, but a (too) colourful hull, with a complete set of Dutch national colours.

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  Plans of this model should be available through the museum, and a splendid wood model was built from these plans by a French gentleman, Mr Maillère.  The same plans were presumably used with some modifications by Sergal to design their kit

-  the two paintings by Abraham Storck showing Dutch whalers at work around the Arctic circle.

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False keel:

I sawed 2mm from the (too prominent) bow, except at the angle with the keel, so that this angle becomes more pronounced, as visible on almost any ship of that period.  I also filed off some of the keel thickness at bow and even more at the stern, as the keel has to be planked over.  I also cut off some of the seating of the lower fore deck, that I wanted to sit lower (for the anchor cables).  I also added a piece of wood to the stem piece will not rest on it, but be offset to starboard.  Finally, a triangular pice was added to the stern to protect the rudder.

 

Bulkheads and taferel:

All bulkheads needed adjustments (filing or padding up).  Nr3 was opened up and its upper camber reduced.  Battens were glued to support the main deck and the lower fore deck.

I chose to remove the “steering?” deck as this cannot be seen on any ship model or painting (except the Rotterdam model).  The quarter deck was extended to the next bulkhead and the poop deck was extended forward using the material saved from the removed portion.  4mm material was removed from both sides of the taferel and the 23 last bulkheads were reduced to accommodate this reduction of the ship width astern.  The gilded ornaments on top and bottom of the taferel had their central piece removed (-8mm).  Also, an 8mm wood piece was added on top op it.  More about that later

A false lower deck is provided in the kit and is a nice feature to keep the bulkheads at the right angle to the keel.

 

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Decks

The decks, especially the main deck, need some camber BOTH side- and lengthwise.  The plywood for the false deck is just the right thickness to allow this.  I wetted the deck and added some nails to allow a nice drying without anything coming loose, and added some weight to the sides to avoid any wave effect.

I modified the hole for the jib, completely modified the hold aperture, and modified the aperture in the quarter deck, so that this is central on the deck

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IFor some childish reasons, I decided I wanted a workable rudder, so I made the necessary assembly at this stage, while I can still reach it, and I also made some minor changes to the rear bulkheads to allow everything to move more or less freely.

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 I found the deck battens to be too dark and bought some replacement material which proved to be too light.  I suspect such a ship had very dirty decks, and saw a few fishing trawlers (after my decks had been planked of course) with quite dark wood decks.  Anyway, I wanted to have a plank pattern with planks that follow the ship lines (like on the Wasa, built by Dutch designers).  When the decks were finished, I used some washes to darken the whole decks.

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The bulkheads were completely changed, with one door i.o 2 at the rear of the main and quarter deck, where I also added two windows.  All bulkheads were covered with clinker planking as on the plans of the Rotterdam museum.  The fore bilkhead on the main deck is on my ship quite conjectural: using the winch to hoist up the anchors would be impossible without some opening in this bulkhead.  Also the small doors on the kit plans seem to me impossible to use by anyone but a dwarf (which the Dutch are/were not, believe me).  My solution was to make an entrance at port and a stair to the upper deck will later be added at starboard. Here is a pic with the first planking already started.

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Jean-Pierre,

very nice the way you tune the kit to adopt all your improvements. It Looks very good, Keep those Pictures coming in, an not so popular shipmodel, but it is the one of the many "spices in the Fleet" presented by MSW

 

Nils

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Hull planking:

This is probably the trickiest hull to plank of any kits on the market, and it is also one of the reason why I so much wanted to build her.  Furthermore, I am not a fanatic of adding wood blocks between the bulkheads, so I didn’t.  But maybe I should have, especially at the rear.

This is (luckily) a double planking.  My first layer was a little too creative to be recommended, but actually the job got done. 

 

I reckon I had to add full layer of wood filler to get the smooth under layer I wanted for the second planking. The planks for the first layer are 1 x 6mm section, almost impossible to bend laterally, but I did my best with the caring help of my Amati plank nipper (without which the whole hull planking would have been a real pain.

The instructions want you to stop both plank layers where the planks meet the hull, but that would leaver a larger triangle of un-planked keel at the rear.  While there are in fact a few examples of flute hulls with the hull finishing at an angle with the keel, I wanted a more traditional planking there, and took as an example the beautiful model of Zeehaen I found on the net..  T do this, and while I was applying wood filler to the first planking, I covered up the seam between keel and hull at the stern.

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Very nice Build Jean-Pierre. I like the rudder mechanism and the fact that you planned ahead for it.

Could you describe in more details how this bar will control the rudder?

Could such a large ship be equipped with a simple tiller?

I truly love the curves of the hull. They make this model very unique.

 

Yves

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Thanks for the positive reactions, gentlemen.

I also hate whale hunting, and truly admire those fantastic animals, but as a matter of fact, it is the bulky aspect of the ship and the challenge of reproducing her lines that attracts me.

 

About the rudder mechanism, this is exactly the mechanism that can be found on Batavia for instance, and I am sure, on almost every large ship of the 16th and 17th century.  Usually there would be some covered up cockpit from which the ship would be steered, but on some ships (ex. frigate Berlin) the crew would steer on deck.  But I found that it would have been cruel even in those days, to let the man fully exposed on deck on a ship that would sail in ice cold waters, hence the little deck overhang: nice but not sure it was a correct layout.  Also, I read that flutes often did not even have a steering stick: they would just move the rudder with a system of pulleys.  So my steering mechanism might be a little luxury.

 

The guns will remain in the box, they are just too ugly.  Even carefully painted, they look ridiculous for me.

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J-P

"Moderate interest from other members"  *#!!!@**%$^%%%$ what the devil are you talking about - I may be a 'lurker' but I enjoyed this build more than almost any other. Enough VIctory's or  Dapper Toms. There is only one other of these Dutch vessels on the site - You practically have a monopoly and your doing an excellent job to boot. Keep up the great work, after all if one can bend planks to this outrageous curve then, well, the plank can be bent into a pretzel.

   keep up the great work

   steve

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Thank you for your kind comments.

 

Alistair, as you can see, the windows still have to be glued onto the hull.  I think I'll wait until all the reinforcement planks (what's their name again?  Garboard strakes, planksheer?) are in place.  Then I'll cut out these planks where necessary.

 

Steve, you are *#!!!@**%$^%%%$ right, although I'm not sure the spelling of this word is right :)

 

The shape of this ship indeed is what I like about it.  There is only one comparable model on the market, and it's Euromodel of Como's Derflinger, but this does not have the looks of this one.  Maybe the Endeavour is what comes the closest.

 

Just a few comments on the first planking.  I did not follow the strong recommendation of some modellers to insert blocks fore and aft.  Instead, I added 4 extra bulkheads lengthwise.  A former experience with a galiot proved that it worked. And it did here as well.

 

As can be seen, I added a rear platform under the rudder, and finished this area that, if built as described in the instructions, would have been a gaping hole in the hull.

 

Before starting the second planking, I made some window glazing (blister transparent plastic painted black on the rear, and covered with pieces of window curtain material painted gunmetal, and glued with PVA glue. This glazing will eventually come flush with the second planking.  On the next picture you see some window frames, the glazing and the lower taferel metal piece which had been cut to remove 8mm in its center.  You will notice that the port half is not symmetrical to the starboard part: it droops down rather heavily.  I later cut a groove in the top of this part so it could be bent more or less in the right position.  As I intend to paint all the gold parts anyway, a little filler made the cut invisible.  The two pieces underneath the picture had to be bent quite sharply (luckily the metal did not break) and they will ornate the hull under the rudder hole

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Then I wanted to add a little picture of my planking friend, the Amati nipper, with next to it, a batten for the second planking ready to go on board.  Please note that no planks were wettened in the process.

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Second planking

For the second planking, I tried to follow as much as possible the original way of planking.  I first glued the plank that will limit the upper planking and planked upoward.

 

Now the planks in the kit were 6 x .5mm of stiff wood.  An ideal plank width would have been 4 x .5mm.  Being cautious with the family budget, instead of buying a whole new set, I designed a simple jig to cut all planks in two (= 3 x .5mm), using the kit planks.  This proved harder than I thought, as the grain of this stiff wood tended to deviate the cut.  All planks needed some lateral bending too, plus beveling  etc…  I was rather satisfied with the end result.

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Hi Jean-Pierre

You may find some here who are horrified by the use of the Amati plank nipper. For me and for this hull shape, it was a saviour. Couldn't have done without it and still have it! Keep going - you might even inspire me to revive my kit - I still have all the bits.

 

Cheers,

Alistair

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Alistair, I do hope that some day, you will restart your excellent build.

 

Indeed, the plank nipper is simple as fast to use (no soaking, no drying), it is cheap and you cannot get burnt by using it.  The only issue is convex shapes, as can be seen at the stern, or on the inner bulwark on the fore deck.  Now on this model, I took the risk, and after some careful sanding, filling, varnishing, the grooves of the nipper can hardly be seen, I dare say.

 

I forgot to mention that while doing the upper part of the second planking, I felt iut necessary to do the inner bulwarks.

 

Inner bulwarks

The original vessel was built as cheaply as possible, and therefore were single skinned.  Sergal suggests to make the inner planking with the same planks as the second planking which would have made a triple skinned vessel at that level.  Of course, no one would notice, but the overall thickness of the bulwarks would be too much: indeed, a single skinned vessel would most surely show the ends of frames, and I wanted this feature on my model.  So I used for the inner bulwark layer the battens left over from the deck, and added planks 3x1mm to simulate the ribs.  Everything was painted a nice green colour, but later on, a forum member mentioned that the bulwarks were indeed painted black, or grey, or left dark wood.  So I later repainted the whole area black.

 

Here are the following pics of the second planking:

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So that s how the project looks like now.  Present job is to add the garboard strakes or whatever they are named, then a second layer tinting varnish will be applied to the hull, then a layer of matt varnish, as the hull is way too glossy for my taste.

 

And then...Mmmmm: the ornaments, window frames, gunport and rudder hinges.

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  • 6 years later...
  • 2 months later...

Although this ship looked promising, I for some reason gave up this build 7 years ago.  In the meantime, we moved from our house outside Brussels (where we had lived for 45 years) to a flat in the city, where place is obviously more restricted.  That was a big issue not only for my built models (a painful selection had to be made), and also for the various tools and materials that had to be packed and stowed where room was available.

 

What happened up to now?  Well, I must say that the level of craftmanship among the community of modellers has considerably increased, and I am amazed to see what you people now produce, and the level and quality of finishing they achieve.  Congratulations to all of you.

Now my Dutch Whaler has recently be taken out of the mothballs.  One has to find things to keep busy in this confined environment.  The ship, as she had been stowed away, is a little more advanced than the last pics above.  I now know that the expensive satin colored varnish I had bought at one of the local diy stores was **** (too glossy, and low tack masking tape would rip it off even after a few days drying time)

 

Also, I found that the gloss was unsuitable for a working ship like this.  I brushed a layer of  thoroughly mixed flat varnish from the same maker: no use. I finally used one of my last bottles of Humbrol enamel based flat varnish, after a wash of much diluted flat black.  Looked finally good enough.  That was just before the mothball hibernation.

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Although this ship looked promising, I for some reason gave up this build 7 years ago.  In the meantime, we moved from our house outside Brussels (where we had lived for 45 years) to a flat in the city, where place is obviously more restricted.  That was a big issue not only for my built models (a painful selection had to be made), and also for the various tools and materials that had to be packed and stowed where room was available.

 

What happened up to now?  Well, I must say that the level of craftmanship among the community of modellers has considerably increased, and I am amazed to see what you people now produce, and the level and quality of finishing they achieve.  Congratulations to all of you.

Now my Dutch Whaler has recently be taken out of the mothballs.  One has to find things to keep busy in this confined environment.  The ship, as she had been stowed away, is a little more advanced than the last pics above.  I now know that the expensive satin colored varnish I had bought at one of the local diy stores was **** (too glossy, and low tack masking tape would rip it off even after a few days drying time)

 

Also, I found that the gloss was unsuitable for a working ship like this.  I brushed a layer of  thoroughly mixed flat varnish from the same maker: no use. I finally used one of my last bottles of Humbrol enamel based flat varnish, after a wash of much diluted flat black.  Looked finally good enough.  That was just before the mothball hibernation.

Alas, in my former life, I had a helpful program called ACDsee which allowed for easy resizing of pictures, but in my new life, my Mac Book ,with standard programs does not offer that possibility, and the pics I took on my Galaxy S7 on the lowest resolution still are over 2 Mb and are not uploadable  here.  Sorry, but I'll first have to find a solution to this!

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Great that you are starting this up again. I will follow this built with great interest. Your fluit has a slightly different stern than my Zeehaen. Mine is round and bulging and yours is flat and then bulgy. Yours is easier to add the decoration (versiering) than mine. Will figure it out. 

Marcus 

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... and some more.  Next (stupid??) thing will be to attach the rudder.  The kit includes material for 3 hinges (as on the original model in Rotterdam).  Yet I am inclined to think that there usually were 5 (or even 6) of them).  Then on my self made rudder (I did not like the shape and the profile) of the kit rudder) I reduced the cutouts for the hinges, which I had made way too large).  The hinges themselves were made of some copper strips onto which I glued a layer of aluminium tape with embossed fake nails.  The pins I glued to the hinges, having failed to solder them😚.  I fear this will be a weak point of the model, but let's cross our fingers.

 

Then came the time to paint the lower hull.  I did not find a "clean" way to achieve the blurred waterline like on the paintings, but I managed rather easily to reproduced the soft slope for and aft of it.  The result is a sparkling white lower hull which, if I have the guts, I will tone down at a later stage.

 

Then came the fun part of this kit (and of any other period ship): the decoration.  Now please bear in mind that this is a kit that dates , at least, from the early 1970's.  when a close ressemblance to the original was less important than details that would impress a newbie.  This explains the never seen before hinges on panels and gun ports, and also the strange stairs that run over the rear decks.  These are spectacular enough, but are better forgotten I am afraid.  Also the decoration of the kit is really rude, probably due to multiple re-use of the molds.  Main figure on the rear is what looks like Adam and Eve walking hand in hand.  A Dutch builder of this model had considered to name his model "the Paradise" but he wisely changed that as life on such a ship in Arctic waters would have been anything but heavenly.  I decided first to reduce the width of the rear pannel a little to make it more "flute like".  I also decided to make a simplified version of the star seen on the Rotterdam model (which I copied from a Jewish star found on the net) and cut out of plasticard.  I also made a small name plate with of course, the name I had chosen, and the Dutch city of Hoorn.  Some of the place left over I filled with a couple of landscape paintings of Hoorn in the 17th century, while the oval holes on the sides of the star have been turned into portraits of the owners (copied from portraits by Jacob Cats!)

About the "gold" seen on the decorations in the kit: I am pretty sure that no gold leaf was used on these ship, so I painted everything over in realistic colours.  As this was too drab to my taste, I could not resist to make some highlights, with some gold enamel.

 

At last, I made the guildings at the bow, also painted in "natural" colours, with just a bit of gold showing.

 

Oh, let us not forget that i also made the chains.  The plates in the kit are way too large.  I reduced them to a width of 15mm and that is still a bit too large (12mm would be enough and ideal to cover with 3 x 4mm planks).  The kit material for the chains had to be discarded.  I used soft iron thread

instead .  Here you see how the plates were reduced in width and the cutouts on their sides filled in

 

Whaler 65.jpg

Whaler 66.jpg

Whaler 67.jpg

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On 8/6/2013 at 10:55 AM, Jean-Pierre said:

 

Question.  I want to give the ship a name.  For a number of reasons I will explain later, this will be “The Pole Star” or rather in Dutch “De Poolster”.  Problem is that Dutch spelling of the 17th century is not something I am familiar with, so the name could also have been written Poolsterre or stern or sterne.  Any idea from the Dutch colleagues?

That would be difficult without consulting a linguist. Not only are you going back 300-400 years a time when there was rarely an accepted fixed form of spelling or pronunciation for any language but in a country of many strong regional dialects it's even worse. I'm no longer fluent as I was as a child, some dialects I'm okay with and still others like those found near the German border other can be a struggle, in Belguim there is some Flemish I can follow along, while with others I'm lost.

 

Even today while formal schooling has unified the written form regional dialects can still be a challenge for those not fluent in dutch. Then's there's Friesland where even dutch fluency won't help you and if your ship came from it's northern ports I have no idea how it would be spelt, an english version maybe closer.

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39 minutes ago, amateur said:

I checked: in books on navigation around 1775/1800 they wrote about the poolsterre.

 

Both stern and sterne are german words. Couldn't find those in Dutchtexts.

 

Jan

Which Low German or High German? North east coast, central or north west? which region, city or town...like dutch the potential spelling and pronunciation variations that far back in history are numerous.

 

My farther usually referred to as the Noorden Ster,  but I recall hearing Poolster as well. If it sailed out of a Frisian port it translates to Peal Stjer, Noard Stjer

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Actually, I didn't check that. Stern is the german translation I learned for the dutch wordt ster.....

 

I never heard noorden ster. Noordster and poolster are quite common.

I am not familiar with Frisian ( which is not a dialect, but a different language).

 

Dutch whalers came from the region north-holland (schermer/de rijp). Poolsterre would be the name to use.

 

@robert Lamba: where do you come from that you are familiar various dutch dialects, as well as flemish?

 

Jan

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Noorden ster,- the language changes continually my parents would complain about the new language changes, they were born in 1910 so literally old school.

 

My mother spoke Utrecht's dutch and high German understood some Frisian and low German. Her father was Frisian spoke Frisian/dutch/low German and high German, her mother was the same.

 

I have difficulty with the dialects of the east and north east Netherlands. Frisian is a completely different language maybe closer to english than dutch, a saxon holdover .

 

Flemish I can understand maybe 50% if I know what the topic is beforehand and they speak slowly, East Frisian even less. My Dentist is Flemish and he says even he has problems with East Flemish and that was just across the river from his home. Let's not even start with my friends Afrikaans, wth! it's amazing how much a language can drift away from the mother tongue in 500yrs.

 

At one time the Fries occupied all the coastal areas of Netherlands North east Germany  and the west coat Denmark. Most of Northern Netherlands was Frisian territory until 1700-1800 when it was reduced to it's present size. So your whaler could've very likely had a Frisian speaking crew.

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