Page 82 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 Eight days were considered sufficient for taking in fresh supplies. The Company ruled in 1656 that no stay at the Cape should exceed ten days, unless exceptional circumstances made it necessary to extend this period. This regulation was not maintained for long. A n average stay of three to four weeks became normal, sometimes of nearly five weeks. A further regulation of 1723 that anchorage in Table Bay was not to exceed fourteen days, and including stiff penalties,23 had little significance.
Table 8 gives a survey of the average stay at the Cape. The use of the Cape as supply station, place of convalescence for the sick, and port for small repairs, lengthened the voyages on average by about 27 days, in the eighteenth century even as much as 29 days.
Table 8: Average length of stay at The Cape on outward journey (in days)
1610-19 22 1620-29 21 1630-39 16 1640-49 14 1650-59 15 1660-69 20 1670-79 26 1680-89 25 1690-99 33
1610-99 24 1610-1795 27
1700-09 29 1710-19 34 1720-29 28 1730-39 24 1740-49 26 1750-59 26 1760-69 26 1770-79 30 1780-89 37 1790-95 29
1700-95 29
Table Bay did not always provide safe anchorage. During the Cape's winter months northwesterly storms made the bay dangerous. A t first this did not give rise to any instruc- tions other than special ones for anchorage. Not until 1742 did this happen. Twenty years before during a June storm five ships (2475, 2485, 2492, 2494, 2495) had been wrecked simultaneously. In 1728 another two ships followed (2724 and 2728), this time in July. From then on other harbours were searched for in the area, but no definite measures for coping with the effects of the 'bad monsoon' were arrived at. In 1737 on May 21st no less than eight returning ships were wrecked (6991-93, 6998-7000, and 7002-03). Even before that masters had been given permission to make for the more northerly Saldanha Bay during the winter season. These disasters also led to changes in the ships themselves, as described in the preceding chapter.
The instructions of 1742 did at last forbid the use of Table Bay during the period May 15th- August 15th. Then False Bay, situated east of the actual Cape, had to be used for provisioning. A t first facilities here were poor, but gradually they improved. Shipping disasters like those mentioned no longer occurred. In 1794 the ban on the use of Table Bay was extended to the period April 10th - September 1st.24
The decision of 1742 no longer to use Table Bay for three months of the year and to earmark the less attractive False Bay as its replacement, coincided with the decision to give less weight to the Christmas fleet. It did in fact lead to a shift in the presence of ships
23 Böeseken, Die Nederlandse Kommissarisse, 16-17.
24 ARA, VOC 5036, Heren 17 to G. andR. at the Cape 11.1.1794; Heeres, 'De'Consideration", 568.

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