Page 64 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 with square sails, without a beakhead, with rather straight bows. The hull was fine lined and narrowed towards the after end. Draught was shallow in relation to the other dimen- sions. There was no passenger accommodation as on the usual East Indiaman. Udemans calculated that three pink-ships could carry more cargo than two 150 ft East Indiamen. Building costs of a pink-ship, inclusive of rigging, amounted to 95,000 guilders, those of an East Indiaman to 184,000 guilders. Moreover the pink-ship could be managed by a smaller crew.45
But the pink-ship appeared too late to bring much solace. So did another innovation decided upon in 1792, concerning savings in ships' maintenance costs. A ship's hull in the water soon became covered with a layer of shells and barnacles clinging to the wood. This accretion slowed the ship down and had to be regularly removed. For this to be done the ship was heeled to one side, put on the dry or moved into dock. This took time and money. There was yet another danger however: the shipworm (Teredo navalis), eating itself into the wood and reducing it to a porous mass. Accretion and the pileworm constituted a great danger to speed and safety in tropical as well as in temperate zones. Weapons used against them were double planking of the hull, which could be renewed after the voyage, and other processes like lead sheathing. All seafaring nations struggled with these pro- blems. In 1761 the British navy experimented with a new method: a frigate destined for service in the West Indies was sheathed with copper. This proved a success. The pileworm stood no chance and accretion was slight. Moreover there was an increase in the ship's speed as well. B y 1780 every Britisch warship was copper-bottomed, as it came to be called. The British merchant navy too, particularly the East- and West Indian trade and the slave trade, began to provide ships with copper sheeting. The East India Company used such a ship for the first time in 1780, soon to be followed by others. Difficulties with galvanic reactions were solved. By 1788 the vast majority of ships in the China trade were coppered: 22 out of 26. In 1790 the East India Company officially confirmed that copper- bottomed ships stayed in service longer and needed less maintenance. They were given preference for fast voyages.46
There was one major drawback to this innovation: its cost. The East India Company still stopped short of a complete programme of copper sheathing. And of course the cost factor was a major consideration when the VOC was confronted with this process. In 1788 Company servants in Canton pointed to 'the speedier and happier accomplishment of outward and return voyages' by English Chinamen. Only copper-bottomed three-deckers would be able to compete with them. The chambers each studied this remark. Opinions were sharply divided. Copper sheets were nearly twice the price of iron skin (a hull studded with flat nails), and the copper sheets would get damaged in the camels.47
So for the time being a unanimous decision was out of the question. The Enkhuizen, Delft and Rotterdam chambers were not interested. The Hoorn chamber was probably the first to have a copper-bottomed East Indiaman at sea, the OOSTHUIZEN (4714) which sailed on 17 December 1791. The BUITEN VERWACHTING (4712) which left at the same time may also have been coppered. The Zeeland chamber could not copper-bottom its first rate ships because of the narrowness of the lockgates. Most of the packetboats too
45 ARA,VOC144,res.Heren 17of2.1.1794;VOC88,minuteres.Heren 17of9.3.1791;VOC 93, id. of 7.6.1793 and supplemented the Consideration of master shipwrights.
46 Harris, 'Copper and shipping', 363-366; Rees, 'Copper sheathing', 86 and 91.
47 A R A , V O C 198, res. Heren 17 of 4.12.1788; V O C 85, minute res. Heren 17 of 10.4.1789.

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