Page 60 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 way for the building and equipping of the prescribed rates.' In August 1742 the first two ships, the EENDRACHT (3254) and the KLEVERSKERKE (3262) were carefully mea- sured up.3 3 The annual returns of the Navale Magi show that for the first few years shipbuilders stuck carefully to the instructions. The rates of 1697 had been drastically and permanently revised.
The master shipwrights resigned themselves resentfully to the innovations and changes, but only temporarily. In their view there were drawbacks to ships 'which in spite of the master shipwrights have to be built in the English manner.' Bentham's elegant drawings predicted nothing about the actual ships. These would pitch too much and make little headway in hollow seas whipped up by the winds.3 4 In particular the round, rather narrow after end of the ships came in for criticism. The masters of the other Admiralty yards also sided against the 'English manner' and in 1747 successfully opposed its wholesale introduc- tion into all naval yards. This probably encouraged their colleagues in the VOC, who began to disregard the instructions of 1742. They were supported by the Rotterdam director Walter Senserff. He did not want to follow the navy's lead but that of the English East India Company. He therefore organised the purchase in London in 1747 of a small type of East Indiaman, the PRINSES V AN ORANJE (3430). Two years later at his instigation the Rotterdam chamber made a proposal to lengthen the 136 ft ships to 140 ft, to widen the transom in the stern and to broaden the sheathing of the keel on both sides in order to improve windward sailing. As it turned out, sailing performance was indeed improved in this way. In the eyes of Schrijver, the great protagonist of the English methods, the decision of 1742 was thereby abandoned 'in an article of principle.'35
The condition of the waterways leading to sea always gave cause for concern. Camels and lighters were indispensable on arrival and departure. Around 1760 the Meuse estuary became silted up further and further and the route to Rotterdam from the Goerese Gat via the Dordse Kil became less navigable. In 1763 the Rotterdam chamber therefore submitted proposals to modify dimensions and shape of the East Indiamen once more. The draught was to be reduced. Master shipwright Pieter van Zwijndregt (1744-1764) managed to reduce the depth by IV* to IV2 feet, but to compensate for the loss of volume of 4,500 cubic feet he would have to broaden the bilge and enlarge the stem and stern. With the exception of his colleague of the Delft chamber, who was struggling with the same problem, the other four rejected the idea out of hand: the 1749 rates were quite satisfactory. It would mean a return to the 1714 rates. Yet the Rotterdam and Delft chambers were given permission to build two ships to V an Zwijndregt's design by way of experiment: the WALENBURG (3916) and the VREEBURG (3924). According to ex- perts these ships had a decidedly square and flat-bottomed appearance!36 Probably the
33 A R A , VOC 47, minute res. Heren 17 of 28.8.1742; Heeres, 'D e 'Consideration", 563.
34 A R A , Admiraliteits Archieven XXXVII, 93, Memorandum of Rijkert Koek (1747).
35 The Hague, Royal Library, Manuscript 73 D 15/1 (Memorandum by C. Schrijver for William IV
about causes of decline in seapower in navigation and shipbuilding of 1752); Van Zwijndregt, Verhandeling van den Hollandschen scheepsbouw, 3; Gill, Merchants and mariners, 70 and 150- 151;VanKampen,DeRotterdamseparticulierescheepsbouw, 66-71 ;Bruijn,'Engelsescheepsbou- wers', 20-21.
36 A R A , V O C 58, minute res. Heren 17 of 11.10.1763 and 31.3.1764; V O C 187, res. Heren 17 of 20.4.1779 (remark by Udemans). Van Kampen, De Rotterdamseparticuliere scheepsbouw, 73-74.

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