Page 126 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 Departure of course took place with the necessary ceremonial as well. Homeward fleets before departure would receive instructions on the signals to be used in meeting up with the Company and admiralty cruisers in the North Sea or in the Channel. These instructions were drawn up by the directors in the autumn and dispatched to the Cape. The too-late arrival of these instructions in 1708 led to a conflict between the commander of the home- ward fleet Cornells Simons and governor Louis van Assenburgh. Simons, in a meeting with his masters, had fixed his fleet's departure date on April 4th, without however noti- fying the governor of this decision. V an Assenburgh protested against the decision: fixing the departure date of the fleet was a task assigned to the governor, to whom of course the instructions on signals were sent. Now that these instructions had not yet been received, the ships would have to wait, according to the instructions from Holland, until April 20th at the latest. Simons however had been ordered by Batavia to wait no longer than until April 4th, but he gave in and in the end the fleet sailed on April 23rd. By then the instructions had still not arrived: they did not reach the Cape until May 10th, carried by the galliot N A G E L (2037).2 5
Once the decision to sail had been taken it was a matter of getting the crew back on board. By the firing of guns and the unfurling of the mizzen topsail and the foretopsail, masters made clear their intention to sail. Two days later a last muster took place on board, whereupon the ships sailed out of the bay on the first 'aflandig lugtie' (offshore breeze).2 6
Facilities for victualling, ship maintenance and recuperation of crews
In the early years after 1652 there was a certain amount of reluctance among masters towards calling at the Cape. This reluctance was based on several grounds. First of all masters knew the dangers of the northwesterly gales and feared they might follow the example of the HAARLEM. In addition, masters were obliged to supply the garrison at the Cape with provisions like rice, grain and beans and spirits, while the Cape commander could, when necessary, take men off the ships. Ships' crews were obliged to help in the building of the fort; there was as yet no question of conviviality and entertainment. The muddiness of the water taken aboard at Table Bay and the poor quality of the meat - all skin and bones according to the complaints - did nothing to give the Cape a good reputa- tion.2 7 Once however the unattractive running-in period was over, the Cape became a favourite resting point, where food- and drink supplies could be replenished, the ships repaired and the crews rested.
During their stay at the Cape the ships were supplied with vegetables and fruit, and twice a week with fresh meat. Quite often the distribution of fresh meat was increased to three days a week for the crew to recuperate more quickly after their sometimes lengthy travels.2 8 For the remaining voyage the ships were given fresh horticultural produce, and livestock - about fifteen sheep for an East Indiaman of the medium rate - were brought on board. The proper provisioning of ships was not the job of the Cape authorities though, it was meant to be done at home or in Batavia or elsewhere in Asia. But Batavia did not always succeed in supplying the homeward fleet with sufficient provisions for the entire voyage to Europe, and in that case appealed to the Cape. In 1708 for instance the Hoge
25 Böeseken (ed.), Résolusses van die Politieke Raad IV, 60, 62-64.
26 VOC 4048, Daghregister Cape, 10.1 - 19.1.1707.
27 Godée Molsbergen, De stichter, 122 et seq.; Böeseken, Nederlandsche commissarissen, 26. 28 Böeseken (ed.), Resolusies vandie Politieke Raad IV, 48, 62, 123.

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