Page 53 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 words of Nicolaas Witsen, author of the 'Aeloude en hedendaagsche scheepsbouw en bestier' seem appropriate here: The families of ships are often very interbred.'1 2 But the Company had many more types of ships in its service during the seventeenth century. It was this wide variety of types and the changes in them which caused Van Dam to write down his lamentation quoted earlier. Those other types were allroundbacked ships which originated and were mainly employed in European waters. The Company kept them in Asia after their arrival there.
The largest and most common ship in this category was the fluit (fluyt). This type of ship had been developed shortly before 1600 from older merchantmen, and gained a leading position in the Republic's European merchant fleet. It was eminently suitable for bulk transportation. In Asia too the fluyt with its rounded hull shape was highly valued for the carrying of rice, wheat and pepper. In Company shipping as well as in European trade the fluyt was regarded as a ship cheap to build and to maintain, and inexpensive to man. In many cases therefore it was preferred to the East Indiaman (e.g. in 1656). Fluyts in Company service were stronger and more solidly built than most others, the larger ones being provided with two continuous decks, and carrying some armament. They were built in all sizes, from 100 to 140 ft. During the earlier decades the Company shipyards were probably not yet geared to the construction of this type of ship. The bulbous planking aft was difficult to construct and would sometimes come unstuck 'on the backside' by the heat of the sun. Certainly until about 1630 most of the fluyts were still purchased, prefe- rence being given to those that had served in the salt trade. In the long run the Company built its own fluyts along with square stern ships.1 3
In 1673 the Heren Zeventien decided on the building of a katschip (catbark). Subsequent- ly some thirteen specimens of this type were built by the Amsterdam and Hoorn chambers. Most of them stayed in the East after their outward voyage. They were smaller merchant vessels, from 100 to 120 ft long, which could take ample cargo, with their rectangular boards and flat bottoms. They carried few sails on their three masts and made bad 'zeebou- wers'(seafarers).Theyrequiredonlysmallcrews.Catbarkshadsomecharacteristicsin common with fluyts, so that they were sometimes confused with them. V an Beylen con- siders the catbark an independent type of ship.1 4
The hekboot is another, somewhat larger type of ship (130 ft long) which appears in the last quarter of the seventeenth century with the Amsterdam chamber. It is not known what this type actually looked like. Probably the lower part was constructed like that of the fluyt, though somewhat sharper fore and aft - hence the description as fluyt - but the aft part of the upper ship was certainly wider, resulting in more accommodation for passengers and crew. The hekboten were used in return shipping, but their number re- mained very small - about six or seven.1 5
12 Op. cit. 187. 13VanBeylen,SchepenvandeNederlanden,101-109;VanDam,Beschryvinge,vol.63,451,462-463,
14 Van Beylen, Schepen van de Nederlanden, 109-115; Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 63, 474. No.
1213 is probably not a catbark. Characteristics of ship's categories around 1688 also in Gemeen- telijke Archiefdienst Amsterdam (Amsterdam Municipal Archives), Part. Archieven 78, no. 244 (pointed out by the late Dr. S. Hart).
15 VanBeylen,Schepen vandeNederlanden, 115-118.No. 1751 isprobably ahekbootaswell(Van Dam, Beschryvinge, vol. 63, 484).

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