Page 84 - Dutch Asiatic Shipping Volume 1
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 the determination of longitude being only very approximate until well into the eighteenth century. It is obvious that in determining the point at which the thousand miles had been completed, inaccuracy could play a large role, and experience of masters and mates was of prime importance. The islands of S. Paul and Amsterdam, situated at about 38 and 36 degrees and according to these instructions seven hundred miles east of the Cape, formed some point of reference, if they were sighted at all. Owing to the globular shape of the earth the route was shorter than it appears on a flat chart. The zone of westerlies merged gradually via the horse latitudes with that of the southeast trade wind. A t the Horse Latitudes mostly all courses except to west and south were possible.
Two dangers were involved in an untimely change of course. If ships heading for Batavia or China via the Sunda Strait turned north too early, they ended up near the coastof Sumatra. During the months of April to September the Sunda Strait could then only be reached by much tacking against the southeast trade wind. If a ship sailed too far east however it came in the rocky coastal waters of western Australia. This had happened to the EENDRACHT (0201) in 1616 and two years later to the ZEEWOLF and MAURI- TIUS (0217-0218) as well. The latter managed nevertheless to complete their journeys in less than eight months. It is in any case remarkable that in the Company's whole existence probably not many more than four ships were wrecked on the western Australian coast (0372, 0833, 2147 and 2680).2 6
It is impossible to ascertain from the ships' registers whether all masters followed the southern route from the beginning. Probably not. A well known case is that of Master Bontekoe (0226) who in 1619 called neither at the Cape nor followed the new course. The former he justified in his journal by stating that 'all our people were still in good health and we did not lack water; therefore we let all sails out.' Two other ships in his company did the same. Bontekoe followed the old route to Bantam, suffered much illness amongst the crew, had to spend a long time getting fresh supplies, until after nearly eleven months at sea his ship in the end cought fire and exploded. Straight after his rescue Coen admonished him severely for using his Own discretion' as regards orders.27 The system of bounties for fast voyages with compulsory calling at the Cape was meant to assist in discouraging this kind of disobedience.
Brouwer's initiative in 1610 and the very prompt measures taken by the directors in 1616 and 1617, including the bounty and penalty systems, have made a permanent mark on the routes of the outward bound East Indiamen across the Indian ocean. The Dutch example was copied by masters of other nationalities. After that the company confined itself mainly to further descriptions of courses near the western Australian coast, which were included in later sailing orders. But one more drastic change was made concerning the distance over which an easterly course was to be kept. During the months of October to March the northwest monsoon blew to the south of the equator, which meant that ships finding themselves too far east of the Sunda Strait had to resort to elaborate tacking. During these months therefore ships were to keep on this course for no more than 850 miles, as opposed to 950 to 1000 miles for the remainder of the year. In the course of the eighteenth century the positions of S. Paul and Amsterdam were described more accurately and more use was made of indications of longitude, arrived at by means of compass declinations. Instead of sailing east for 850 miles, masters now had to sail northeast after
26 Schilder, Australia unveiled and Schilder, De ontdekkingsreis I, 65-97.
27 Hoogewerff, Journalen, 16-28 and 197-198. See also Colenbrander, Jan Pietersz. Coen I, 521
and 586.

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