Page 59 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 deduced from the very scant cargo, hardly worth the name, of the aforesaid ship LOVERENDAAL, now lately returned from the Indies' - yet a cargo at cost value of no less than 120,966 guilders (see 7058)! The chamber had never had these ships officially measured, and had them fitted with far too large and far too expensive masts and rigging.3 0
Disputes over new rates (1741-1750)
The shipping disasters of 1737 (see chapter 5) made a thorough reconsideration of the seaworthiness of East Indiamen inevitable. The Heren Zeventien pronounced quite plainly that the changes in rates of 1697 - probably meaning those of 1714 - 'could with foundation be said to contribute and therefore be part cause of East Indiamen being unable to ride it out at anchor near the Cape in particular, and in open sea risking greater peril of foundering than ships made before the date of widening.' In 1741 the six master shipwrights had to come up with proposals for improvements. In May they produced a plan to enlarge the ratio of width to length again by lengthening ships of 145 ft to 150 ft and of 130 to
135 ft, and to introduce a new rate of 125 ft as well. In October however their proposal was superseded by the ideas of Governor-General Gustaaf Willem baron van Imhoff.31
Van Imhoff had been impressed by the changes in shipbuilding introduced in the Admi­ ralty yard in Amsterdam. Since 1727 English master shipwrights had been employed there, who more than their Dutch counterparts worked on the basis of technical drawings, pre­ serving them as well. Shipbuilding was to them, in V an Imhoff s words, not 'a bare guess' but had its own 'regulations of proportion. ' There was a very close correspondence between length and width or depth for a ship to be fit for loading and sailing. These proportions had been differently defined by the English and as a result their ships were slimmer and sharper in build. The ratio between length and width was greater. They had very little more draught because the various constructions were made less heavy. A very obvious difference was the round back instead of the former straight back.
Van Imhoff, advised by the Amsterdam naval officer Cornells Schrijver, now submitted plans for three rates: the first rate of 150 χ 41 χ 19 ft, the second of 136 χ 39 χ 17 ft and the third of 120 χ 33 χ 13 ft. The English master of the Admiralty dockyard, Charles Bentham (1735-1758), was to produce drawings as examples for the Company's six masters. In order to get experience with one of Bentham's products the Amsterdam chamber decided to purchase the warship EDAM from the Admiralty, 'it being of the new build' and 150 ft long. This took place in 1741. Under its new name of HERSTELDER (3256) this ship was to take V an Imhoff to Batavia in October 1742. A plan to also buy a 120 ft ship from the Admiralty did not materialize. There were none available and an offer to build one to order was declined by the Amsterdam chamber. Eventually, on March 14th
1742, the Heren Zeventien drew up three new rates according to V an Imhoff s plan, of 150, 136 and 120 ft. This last rate was in fact hardly to be built at all.3 2
Van Imhoff and director Gerard Aarnout Hasselaar had to see to it that moulds of the three rates were prepared: of all three for the Amsterdam and Zeeland chambers, of the 136 and 120 ft rates only for the four smaller chambers. Bentham made them. The six master shipwrights were instructed to 'regulate themselves precisely each in their own
30 A R A , V O C 4471, Haagse Besogne 10.7.1739.
31 A R A , VOC 47, minute res. Heren 17 of 6.3, 19.5 and 15.6.1741.
32 A R A , V O C 259, res. Amsterdam chamber of 18.12.1741; Leiden, Kon. Instituut Taal-, Land­
en Volkenkunde. Manuscript 77 (Consideration); Heeres, 'De 'Consideration", 452-453 and 562- 563; Bruijn, 'Engelse scheepsbouwers', 18-19.

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