The History of Yachting/Chapter 1
THE HISTORY OF YACHTING
MEDIÆVAL PLEASURE-CRAFT AND EARLY
Pleasure-craft of antiquity—Purple sails of royalty—Galley of Tyre—Cleopatra—Galley race described by Virgil—Yachting began with the rise of the Dutch Republic—Victories of Hein, Von Tromp, and Ruyter—Yachts belonging to the Burgomasters of Amsterdam, and Maurice of Nassau, younger son of William the Silent—Review of yachts in honor of Queen Mary of France—State yachts—Admiralty yachts—Dutch East India Company's yachts—Yacht parades—Mock battles—Peter the Great—Evolution of the sloop—The Peruvian balsa—First embodiment of the centre-board—Distant voyages and exploits of armed Dutch yachts.
PLEASURE-CRAFT, or what we now know as yachts, have existed among maritime nations from the most remote period; but the records of these gorgeous vessels of antiquity have perished except in fragments to be found scattered here and there among the writings of ancient authors.
In ancient times it was customary for vessels to carry sails of various colors, to denote their different characters. The sails of royal vessels were wholly purple, and were used by members of royal house-holds only; no other vessels were permitted to carry them. Cleopatra's galley at the battle of Actium; the magnificent pleasure-vessels Isis and Thalamegus, built by Ptolemy Philopator (222 B.C.); the royal vessel with "a golden beak, and fence of golden shields to protect the rowers on their benches," presented to Athelstane by the King of Norway (A.D. 925); the galley presented to Hardicanute by Earl Godwin, "sumptuously gilt and rowed by eighty men, each of whom wore on his arm a bracelet of gold weighing sixteen ounces" (A.D. 1040); the Queens Hall, which carried Phileppa, niece of King Henry IV. and Queen of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, to join her husband in Denmark, all—together with many other royal vessels that might be mentioned—carried purple sails.
This custom continued until the beginning of the fifteenth century, one of the last instances recorded being that of the King's Chamber, on board of which King Henry V. sailed from England to France. This vessel carried a sail of purple silk, upon which was embroidered in gold the arms of England and France.
By means of purple sails we are enabled to trace and establish the antiquity of vessels used exclusively by royalty, or what would, at the present time, be known as royal yachts.
A vivid picture—herewith abridged—of Tyre, the "golden city" and "mother of crafts," is given in Ezekiel chapter XXVII., where the prophet speaks of Tyre as "a merchant of the people for many isles. . . . They have made all thy ship boards of fir trees of Senir: they have taken cedars from Lebanon to make masts for thee. Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars . . . have made thy benches of ivory. . . . Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail; blue and purple from the isles of Elishah was that which covered thee . . . thy pilots, thy caulkers, and all thy men of war that are in thee, . . . shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin."
This justly celebrated chapter is one of the most ancient records of shipping bequeathed to us, and bears testimony to the great antiquity of pleasure-craft; for, as we have seen, among the ancients purple sails were carried only on vessels used by royalty, and "benches of ivory" certainly indicate a vessel equipped with royal luxury.
One of the most ancient pleasure-craft, and the most beautiful and renowned of which any definite description has been preserved, was the royal barge, or galley, of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, thirty years before the Christian era, which is thus described by Shakespeare:
"The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne
Burned on the water; the poop was beaten gold.
Purple the sails and so perfumed, that
The winds were lovesick with them; the oars were silver,
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke
And made the water which they beat to flow faster,
As amorous of their strokes."
To rely upon this description by the poet might be unwise, were it not sustained by the historian; accordingly, we are indebted to Plutarch for the following account of this expedition:
"Cleopatra, in her conduct with respect to the contending parties, endeavored to trim between both; for though she had assisted Dolabella, yet Serapion, her lieutenant in Cyprus, fought for Cassius; and after the defeat of him and Brutus, she, fearing the resentments of conquerors, resolved in person to meet Anthony, and, conscious of her own charms, try how efficacious her wit and beauty would be in her cause, he having summoned her to render an account of her behavior.
"Crossing the Mediterranean to Cilicia, where Anthony then was, she came up the River Cydnus in a vessel, the stern whereof was gold, the sails of purple silk, and the oars of silver, which gently kept time to the sound of music.
"She placed herself under a rich canopy of cloth-of-gold, habited like Venus rising out of the sea, with beautiful boys about her, like cupids, fanning her; and her women, representing the Nereids and Graces, leaned negligently on the sides and shrouds of the vessel, while troops of virgins, richly drest, marched on the banks of the river burning incense and rich perfumes, which were covered with an infinite number of people, gazing on in wonder and admiration. The Queen's success with Anthony was answerable to her expectations."
No record appears to exist of the dimensions of this vessel, but judging from the length of the voyage, the number of attendants and servants probably required by Cleopatra, their equipment and stores; and judging from the fact also, that the galley was "laden with the most magnificent offerings and presents of all kinds," it is reasonable to suppose that this craft must have been of a considerable tonnage.
The wanton splendor of Cleopatra's life has inspired poets, painters, and historians, who have perpetuated her memory through nineteen centuries of time and change; so that to-day her fame is as fresh and radiant as the morning sunbeam that rests upon the gray pyramids, obelisks, and temples of her native land.
"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety."
"I died a queen, the Roman soldier found
Me lying dead, my crown about my brows,
A name forever! lying robed and crowned
Worthy a Roman spouse."
Of other ancient vessels we have some knowledge, though not as much as could be wished. The Haw Ting, or flower-boats of the Chinese, with their rich ornamental carvings and silken draperies of vermilion and gold, sweet with the perfume of sandal-wood; the Greek and Roman galleys, which one historian, not over-gallant, compares to women—equally greedy of ornament; the galley race for royal prizes between the Dolphin, Centaur, and Chimæra, immortalized by Virgil—all these are of interest. Of the Venetian galleys, their sails embroidered in silver and gold, of the stately galleons of Portugal and Spain, and their conquests; of the slender, swift, serpent-galleys of the Norsemen, floating white flags of peace, bearing the symbol of the lamb, and flaming, fighting flags of crimson, emblazoned with the fierce, flying dragon,—of these we have all read. Of great interest, too, are the Vikings,—those brave sea-captains, who counted it dishonor to die on land.
One would gladly remain in company so good, so brave, so luxurious, and sail with mariners like these through the troubled waves of historical uncertainty, or drift with them upon the calm and misty waters of romance; but my purpose is of a different, though not less agreeable, nature. I wish to trace as clearly and completely as possible the early history of yachting, illustrated by the portraits of famous yachts, executed by artists no less famous when these vessels were in the zenith of their renown. At various periods I shall notice briefly some of the celebrated vessels of war and commerce, in order to trace more clearly the evolution of the yacht. For she has developed side by side with her more industrious sisters, and at times, especially during the early days of her existence, has shared in the laborious undertakings of both.
Yachting history may be divided into two eras. The first dates from the year 1600 to the years 1812-15, when The Yacht Club—now the Royal Yacht Squadron—was founded, and modern yachting may be said to have begun; the second, from that date to the present time. I purpose to deal only with the first, comprising many events of interest, which hitherto have escaped the attention of historians of yachting.
Yachting may be termed the poetry of the sea. No other sport or pastime has been so interwoven with romance and countless memories of daring deeds and glorious achievements. Further, it is among the most ancient, as well as the noblest, of sports; and as mastery by fair means is the essence of every sport, no other can compare in interest and excitement with mastery upon the sea.
In every age there have been men to whom sea-faring has been a recreation and a delight. Indeed, yachtsmen may be regarded as the patricians of the sea; free from its hardships and privations, though amenable to its written and unwritten laws, and participating in its dangers and delights. By degrees, yacht-racing has become the popular feature of yachting, though early history shows that yachts enjoyed a flourishing existence for nearly two centuries before racing came into fashion. Even at the present time, it is safe to say that for every mile sailed by yachts in races during a season, hundreds of miles are sailed by cruising yachts, whose owners enjoy their contests with wind and wave as keenly as if they were sailing over prescribed courses for prizes. Still, racing is, and must always be, the most popular feature of yachting, as it affords opportunities for the display of skill and courage, and composing those beautiful marine pictures, of which not only yachtsmen, but vast throngs of people who know little about yachting delight to form a part. Yachts should be, and, as a rule are, a skilful combination of strength, comfort, beauty of form, speed, refined decoration and equipment; and among seamen it has ever been deemed the highest compliment to say of a man-of-war or a merchant-ship that she looks or handles like a yacht.
In order to form an intelligent idea regarding the introduction of yachts into America and England, it is necessary to turn to Holland, where they originated. Philip II. of Spain maintained his hold upon Flanders and Brabant; but in 1580 the seven other provinces formed themselves into the Republic of the United Netherlands, and by their situation were naturally led to commercial pursuits. In these they rapidly excelled. Amsterdam rose to be a city of the first rank,—the centre of commerce in Europe,—and Holland grew in wealth and influence until it not only held its own against Spain, but invaded Spain's most valuable monopolies.From remote times, the people of Holland have been celebrated for their skill and industry upon the ocean. They were the first to develop the whale and herring fisheries, which proved not only a source of great wealth, but were the nursery of a splendid race of seamen. The country itself was rescued from the ocean by embankments, which were constructed with unceasing toil and skill, and was drained by innumerable pumps, driven by windmills. Yet upon this ground, lying below the level of the sea, was founded the most prosperous community in Europe, bearing for its motto, "Luctor et Emergo."
Admiral Pieter Hein. Capturing the Spanish Silver
A DUTCH MAN-OF-WAR, 1630
board the Dutch ships and landed in Holland; and "so great was the success of the Dutch upon the sea, and their names so famous in all parts, that one Embassy came to them from Japan, another from Morocco, and another from Persia, all extending invitations of friendship and the assurance of desire for mutual commerce."
In 1628, Admiral Pieter Hein captured the Spanish silver fleet, the value of the cargoes of these vessels being 30,000,000 florins, or about £2,500,000 Sterling. The capture of the treasure-fleet of Spain had long been the fervent desire and ambition of the great English Admirals Drake and Hawkins, and for which Queen Elizabeth, even in old age, had yearned, with hope deferred, and, finally never realized.
Admiral Marten Tromp commanded fleets that
THE "AMELIA" FLAGSHIP OF ADMIRAL TROMP, 1639
Admiral Martin Tromp.Admiral Michiel Ruyter.
Few nations can point to such a brilliant array of naval heroes as can Holland during the seventeenth century; or of admirals and commanders who fell while leading their fleets in the fury of battle. To name but a few: Pieter Hein, who fell before Dunkirk; Heemskerk, at Gibraltar; Van Galen, at Leghorn; Pieter Florisz and Witte de With, at the victory of the Sound; seven members of the Evertsen family, who fell as admirals or captains;Tromp, at Ter Heide; Van Gent, at Solebay; Kortenaer and Wassenaer, at Lowestoff; De Vries, near Schoonerveld; De Liefde, at Kijkduin; and Ruyter, in sight of Mount Etna.
Little is known among English-speaking people concerning the lives and achievements of these and other renowned Dutch seamen of the seventeenth century. It is therefore to be hoped that at a day not far distant, some author, duly equipped for the task, will present to the world a naval history embracing this era of Holland's glory upon the sea. No two nations in Europe were more unlike in the essential qualities that form the character of a people than were Holland and Spain; yet there can be little doubt that the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands exerted a powerful influence upon the people of Holland. This was manifested in their manners and customs, as well as in their maritime affairs, which explains the design and
A DUTCH EAST-INDIAMAN, 1630
A Dutch Man-of-War. 1670.
It was quite natural, therefore, that a refined and wealthy people as the Hollanders were, living in a country situated upon an inland sea and intersected by waterways and canals,—the highways of commerce and travel,—should have had both their private and public conveyance by water. This was what the people did have; and this conveyance was called Jaght, from Jagen, meaning, originality, a boat drawn by horses (to-day Jaghers Garen means a towrope), and later a swift, light-built, handsomely furnished, and beautifully decorated vessel used either as a private pleasure-vessel or as a vessel of State, or of the Admiralty, or attached to an expedition or squadron. The English word yacht is derived from the Dutch Jaght, and, until late into the eighteenth century, was frequently written Yatch, Yatcht.
When the yacht came into existence in Holland the term applied to the vessel Jaght Schip. It denoted swiftness and probably, chasing or hunting; for the ancient yacht of Holland was put to a variety of uses. After a time, however, Schip was abandoned, Jaght only being used. From a Dutch-Latin dictionary, published at Antwerp in 1599, we trace the etymology of the word Jaght, which takes its root in Jaghen, meaning to hunt, to chase, to pursue, to strive after; rapid motion, haste, or hurry; also meaning to tow with horses. From this is derived the slang word Jaghten, meaning to hurry up, to drive forward, to urge to greater speed; also the word Jaght—the chase, hunt, hunting.
Jaght was by no means applied exclusively to vessels; indeed, from the same authority we take the following definitions of the word: Jaght Hond, a hunting hound; Jaght Net, a hunting net; Jaght Perrd, a huntsman's or hunting horse; Jaght Horen, a hunting horn, trumpet, or clarion; Jaght Stock, a hunting staff or spear; Jaght Vogel, a hunting hawk.
In the above definitions we do not find any suggestion of the yacht as a vessel, but the same dictionary gives Jaght, Jaghte, Jaght Schip—a swift, light-built vessel of war, commerce, or pleasure,—a yacht.The word, it is seen, had a wide meaning, and often signified a spendidly furnished State or private vessel handsomely and comfortably furnished; also a small private vessel, owned partly for pleasure, partly for use; or a vessel attached to a squadron, fitted with accommodations for an admiral or other officer; used to communicate with the vessels of a fleet or with the shore; carrying dispatches or keeping watch on an enemy's ships. A yacht might also be a vessel engaged upon an expedition, alone or in company with other vessels. And yet, with this wide range of uses, there was something distinctive about the seventeenth-century yacht of Holland—she could never be mistaken for anything else.
Yacht Owned by the Burgomasters of Amsterdam in
the Year 1600.
The most ancient yacht of which diligent and careful research has been able to discover a portrait, is one that was owned by the burgomasters of Amsterdam about the year 1600. The original picture is executed by Rool, in India ink on parchment. Worn by age, it nevertheless gives the details of the hull and rig with the fidelity and minuteness for which the artists of Holland are justly famous. This yacht was probably used by the burgomasters in their various official duties afloat, to their great comfort and enjoyment: a portrait is also given of the yacht owned by Maurice of Nassau, the younger son of William the Silent, who died at The Hague on April 23, 1625.
In 1638 Queen Mary of France visited Holland, receiving a series of splendid ovations at the various cities en route. A representation of the review in her honor by the yachts of Amsterdam is here given.
Some particulars of the seventeenth-century yachts of Holland are given in the Dictionaire de Marine, published in Amsterdam, 1702. The measurements in this work are in the Rhenish foot of 11 Rhenish inches, equal to 12.35652 English inches; the following being the dimensions for a small yacht: Length from stem to stern-post, 42 feet; breadth, 9 feet 4 inches; depth at the wale, 3 feet 8 ½ inches. The keel, or, as it was called, "sole," was 6 feet wide amidships, and 5 inches thick, being a combination of keel and garboards, and 30 feet long. The stern-post was 6 feet 4 inches in length, with 1 foot 5 ½ inches rake; 6 inches thick inside, and 4 inches outside; 8 inches wide at the head, and 3 feet six inches at the heel. The stem was 6 feet 6 inches high, and 10 feet 6 inches rake; 2 feet wide at the head, and 1 foot 2 inches where it joined the keel; 6 inches thick on the inside, and 4 inches on the outside, with 14 inches rounding. The planking was 2 inches thick, and the wale 4 inches thick, and 5 inches wide; the planking above the wale, 12 inches wide, and 1 ½ inches thick. The floor timbers were 4 ½ inches square, and 3 ½ inches at the wale. Yachts of this type were-steered with iron tillers, slightly curved, and were fitted with leaden pumps on both sides, to allow pumping on either tack.The Staaten Jaght, or State yacht, was used for various purposes: to regulate shipping, prevent smuggling, collect revenue, and the like. The Admiraliteit Jaght, or Admiralty yacht, was used by admirals in connection with their fleets, frequently performing important service; they were attached to the fleet of every Dutch admiral during the naval wars of the seventeenth century. In the memorable battle of June 3, 1665, Admiral Opdam
The State and Admiralty yachts varied in size. The work already quoted gives the particulars of one: 66 feet in length; 19 feet breadth; stern-post, 11 feet in length; 2 feet 3 inches rake; stem, 12 feet high, and 10 feet rake; keel, 54 feet in length, 12 inches wide, and 10 inches thick. The planking varied from 4 ½ to 3 inches in thickness, and from 9 inches to 18 inches in width. The deck was raised 18 inches at a point 33 feet from the stem, and continued for 18 feet. This formed the captain's cabin; and aft where the deck was lowered it made a cockpit for the helmsman, and also afforded protection in stormy weather. The sails were hoisted by a windlass, placed against the mast.
The largest type of yacht belonged to the Dutch East India Company; it was ship-rigged, the same dictionary furnishing the following particulars of one of these yachts: Length, 115 feet from stem to stern-post; breadth, 27 feet 5 ½ inches; depth of hold, 11 feet 5 ½ inches; length of keel, 92 feet, 14 inches thick, and 16 inches wide. The stern-post was 19 feet 6 inches in length, with 3 feet 3 inches rake, 11 ½ inches thick inside, and 8 inches thick outside; 17 inches wide at the head, and 5 feet 4 inches wide at the heel; stem, 20 feet high; 20 feet rake; 2 feet 5 ½ inches wide at the head, and 3 feet 3 inches wide where it joined the keel; it was 11 ½ inches thick inside, and 8 inches outside, with scarph 5 feet long, held together by 8 copper bolts. The planking was 3 inches thick, and the floor-timbers, 9 inches square; 7 ½ inches square above the floor heads; 6 inches square at the wale, and 5 inches square above the wale. The ceiling was 3 inches thick; the stringers, 3 ½ inches thick; the deck-beams, 11 ½ inches square; the clamp of the deck-beams, 5 ½ inches thick; and the waterway clamp, 20 inches wide, and 4 inches thick.The hawse-holes were 10 ½ x 9 inches in diameter, the fore-chains, 14 feet 5 ½ inches long, 4 inches
Yacht Owned by Maurice of Nassau. 1625.
Besides these, there was the Gouvernante Jaght, or Government yacht, used for the accommodation of the Government officials,—carrying Government dispatches, and the like. Then the Reiziger Jaght or Passenger yacht, used for conveying passengers.
The Dutch East India Company owned a variety of yachts, used by the officials for business or pleasure; frequently they were sent upon foreign voyages: sometimes alone, sometimes accompanying one or more ships.
The private yachts, however, were the most numerous and it is probable that at that period almost every one in Holland who could afford a yacht, owned one of some kind. They ranged in size and appointments from the modest Boeyer, of eighteen or twenty feet in length, to yachts of one hundred and fifty tons, equipped with every luxury of the time, and splendidly decorated.
Various portraits of these private yachts are here given. With these and others, together with particulars of construction, we fortunately are enabled to form a fairly accurate idea as to the yachts of Holland at that period. From them originated the yachts of America and England.
No record states that the yachts of Holland ever raced, or that there were any yacht-clubs, although the Hollanders had mimic parades, in imitation of naval reviews and battles. An illustration is here given of "The Amsterdam Yachts enacting a battle on the occasion of the visit of Peter the Great, in 1697." An account of this celebration was published at Amsterdam in the same year, and reads as follows: "After the Muscovian Ambassy had seen all that captures the eyes and hearts of foreigners in the famous merchant-city of Amsterdam, the worthy Council of the city conceived the idea of representing to the Ambassy a mock fight, imitating a sea-fight, on the river Y, and therefore requested the amateurs of both the havens for yachts to kindly prepare themselves by the first of September; and in order that all might be properly arranged, the Admiral, Gillis Schey, for whom one of the yachts of the East India Company was provided, took command, and issued to the yachtsmen instructions whereby they might be guided:
"1. When the Admiral intends to go under sail with his squadron, he will hoist a blue flag under the Prince's flag at the top, and fire a gun.
"2. When the Admiral intends that the squadron shall be ranged, he will hoist the Prince's flag under the head of the gaff, and fire a gun."3. When the Admiral thinks it necessary for the squadron to turn, he will hoist the Prince's flag, and fire a gun, then the yacht astern shall turn
"4. When the Admiral thinks that the proper moment has come to attack the enemy, he will hoist a red flag under the Prince's flag, and fire a gun.
"5. When the Admiral thinks it advisable to cease the battle, he will hoist a white flag under the Prince's flag, and fire a gun.
"6. When the Admiral requires that the Dispatch yacht shall come near him to receive instructions, he will hoist a blue pennant half-high at the gaff, and fire a shot.
"There were also invited to be present another yacht of the East India Company, a yacht of the West India Company, and a yacht of Friesland."
On September 1, 1697, "at half-past two in the afternoon, the fleet went out under sail, accompanied by four tenders (probably small yachts to represent the yachts attached to a fleet in actual battle), wherein one hundred volunteers were placed, mostly young men—sons of prominent burgers—well-provided with muskets. The fleet began very well directed manœuvres; and, after having kept their course for some time, they passed alongside one another in perfect line, firing their cannon with great energy, the charges being enlarged a great deal, to give more show and importance to the battle. The Blanwhoofd carried eleven extra guns; the Keerweer eleven, and the Amstellburg sixteen.
"The houses of the surrounding villages trembled during the heavy cannonade. Between, was heard the discharge of the muskets of the volunteers, as often as the yacht with the Ambassy on board was passed.
"The whole river Y, as far as the eye could see, was covered with all kinds of vessels, filled with people who had come out of curiosity to see this rare and beautiful spectacle. At the same time, notwithstanding the large number of craft wherefrom some disaster might be expected, all was conducted in perfect order, and the positions of the
A REVIEW OF AMSTERDAM YACHTS, 1717
vessels so well kept, that the people, who filled both yacht-harbors and the dikes as far as Schillingwen and Nieuwendam, could not refrain from expressing their astonishment.
"The closing-in of the evening ended the battle, the Ambassy expressing perfect pleasure at all they had witnessed."An illustration of another celebration of this
The Amsterdam Yachts Enacting a Battle Scene
on the Occasion of the Visit of Peter the
It seems quite absurd to think of these ancient yachts as having been built for speed, yet such is the fact. And while no record can be traced of
their having sailed in matches, they no doubt had contests of speed quite as exciting,—chasing smugglers and pirates, carrying dispatches, and being under the guns of an enemy. To place the yacht of Holland in true relation to the vessels of her time, the portrait of a Dutch trading-craft, not constructed especially for speed, is here given. It is called a Damlooper, the type existing to the present day.
At this period, the yachts of Holland, whose portraits are reproduced, with the exception of the ship, are all of the Sloepe rig, from which is derived the English word, sloop, together with the American sloop and British cutter-rig. This subject is one of interest to yachtsmen, hence we will trace the evolution of these rigs under the different conditions and requirements which existed in America and England. For the present we will take up the rig as it first appeared in Holland.
The sloop was originally a boat carried by a vessel. An illustration of one of them is here given. By degrees, sloops were built larger, until the sloop became a sea-going vessel of considerable tonnage.
The Dictionaire de Marine, published in 1702, and previously referred to, gives the following description of the various kinds of sloops then in use:"Sloop: This is a sea-going vessel, used for the service of and communication between large ships; it also is used to make short trips to sea; although some of them make long trips, and even ocean voyages. Every sloop, used for the service of large ships, has a crew of at least six: the officer, who is at the helm, and five oarsmen, one at each oar. Commonly it is a boatswain who is in command."
A Sloop. 1675.
The following is the description of a sloop 32 feet in length: 8 feet 9 inches breadth; 2 feet 3 inches deep below the gunwale. The length of the keel was 25 feet 6 inches. The keel, or sole, was 5 feet three inches wide, and 2 inches thick; floor-timbers, 3 inches by 2 inches; spaced, 1 foot 6 inches; stem, 6 feet 5 inches high; 4 feet 9 inches rake; 13 inches wide at head, 10 inches at bottom, 3 inches on fore-side, and 4 inches on after-side; stern-post, 5 feet 9 inches high, 1 foot 10 inches rake, 2 feet wide at heel, 1 foot at head, 7½ inches on fore-side, and 1½ inches on the after-side. Sloops of this kind were carried by ships; and used to run out anchors, to bring off water and provisions, and generally used as tenders. Here we find a similarity between the sloop and cutter; as a cutter may also be a ship's boat or a powerful sea-going vessel.
Another class of sloop was length over all 42 feet; breadth, 9 feet; keel, or sole, 7 feet wide; stem, 5 feet 6 inches high, and 6½ feet 6 inches rake; stern-post, 7 feet high and 2 feet rake. These sloops were rigged with two masts: mainmast, 24 feet long; gaff, 12 feet 6 inches, and main-boom 21 feet long; foremast, 15 feet long; gaff, 10 feet; boom, 11 feet 6 inches long. It will be noticed that these vessels carried no bowsprit. From this, too, it appears that a sloop of that date, and during the seventeenth century, sometimes carried two masts.
The largest sloops, which sailed to the Cape Verd Islands, were in length 55 feet; breadth, 12 feet 6 inches; stem, 8 feet 6 inches; and stern-post, 9 feet 6 inches high. From the dictionary already quoted and published at Antwerp, 1599, we find Sloepe, Sloepken,—a little ship, skiff, or boat. It therefore seems probable that at this early period the term Sloepe was applied more to the type of vessel than to the rig. By degrees, as rigs multiplied among small craft, a single-masted vessel in Holland became known as a Sloepe—the germ of the American sloop and British cutter-rig. Along diverging lines these developed until they became quite distinct in every essential detail of hull, spars, sails and rigging.
It will be noticed that all of the yachts whose portraits are here given, with the exception of the ship, carry lee-boards. The Dictionaire de Marine (1702), gives the following description of the leeboard:"The lee-board is made of three boards laid over one another, and cut in the shape of the sole of a shoe, or of a half oval. The bylanders and hookers use them for sailing close-hauled, and generally these vessels have two lee-boards hanging on either of their sides. If one wishes to sail close hauled, the lee-board, which is on the lee side, is lowered into the water, and thus prevents the vessel from falling off; the other lee-board remains hanging against the weather-side. Lee-boards are of very general use in navigation on inland waters, but at sea they are now—1702—seldom seen unless on a few square boeiers, some light galeots, or small fishing-boats."When the lee-board was first used or by whom it was invented, is not known. It is probable that the idea was introduced into Holland during the
"On coming alongside, Ruiz found several Indians, both men and women, on board, some with rich ornaments on their persons, besides several articles wrought with considerable skill in gold and silver which they were carrying for purposes of traffic to different places along the coast. But what most attracted his attention was the woolen cloth of which some of their dresses were made. It was of a fine texture, delicately embroidered with figures of birds and flowers, and dyed in brilliant colors. He also observed in the boat a pair of balances, made to weigh the precious metals. His astonishment at these proofs of ingenuity and civilization, so much higher than anything he had ever seen in the country, was heightened by the intelligence which he collected from some of these Indians.
"In a short notice of this expedition, written apparently at the time of it, or soon after, a minute specification is given of several articles found in the balsa; among them are mentioned vases and mirrors of burnished silver, and curious fabrics, both cotton and woolen,"A portrait of a balsa is here given, which shows the arrangement and working of the boards. This craft may he regarded as the first embodiment of the lee-board, sliding keel, revolving keel, centreboard, and fin keel. It is evident that this device made an impression upon the minds of the early
A Gouvernante Jaght, or Government Yacht.
In looking over the narratives of voyages of the early Dutch navigators, frequent mention of yachts are met with.
In 1598 some merchants of Holland fitted out an expedition to cruise in the South Seas against the Spaniards, among them were Peter Van Beveren, Hugo Gerritz, and John Bennick. The fleet consisted of the Maurice, Admiral Oliver Van Noort, the Henry Fredric, Captain James Glaasz; yachts, Concord, Captain Peter Van Lint, and Hope, Captain John Huidecoope. These vessels sailed from Rotterdam, June 28, 1598, and, after capturing several Spanish galleons, and sailing around the globe, "arrived safely before the City of Rotterdam," August 26, 1601.
June 27, 1598, a fleet, consisting of the Hope, 500 tons; Faith, 320 tons; Charity, 300 tons; Fidelity, 220 tons and the yacht Merry Messenger, 150 tons, sailed from Rotterdam, under command of Admiral De Weert, "being provided with all manner of provisions and ammunition, with cannon, money, merchandise and all necessaries whatever for a long voyage." It proceeded through the Straits of Magellan, thence across the Pacific, and home by way of the Cape of Good Hope, arriving at Rotterdam May 13, 1600.
In 1598 the Dutch East India Company sent out six great ships and two yachts for India, under command of Cornelius Hemskike, which sailed out of the Texel on the 1st of May, "and coming to-gether to the Cape of Good Hope in August, were separated by a terrible storm. Four of them and a yacht put into the Isle of Maurice, east of Madagascar; the other two ships and yacht put into the Isle of St. Mary, to the east of Madagascar, where they made stay, but sailing thence, arrived on the 26th of November, 1598, before Bantam; and a month after them came the other four ships and yacht from the Island Maurice."
In 1614 Admiral Spilbergen, "a man of established reputation for his knowledge in maritime affairs" sailed in command of a fleet fitted out by the Dutch East India Company, composed of the Great Sun, Full Moon, Huntsman, and yacht Sea Mew, all of Amsterdam, and the Aeolus of Zeeland, and Morning Star of Rotterdam. They sailed out of the Texel, August 8th, with a strong gale from the southeast, and proceeded to the coast of South America, thence through the Straits of Magellan, capturing and plundering the Spanish ships that they fell in with, until July 10, 1615, when they sighted eight vessels which proved to be the Royal Fleet of Spain, commanded by Admiral Roderigo de Mendoza. A fierce battle ensued, in which the yacht Sea Mew, sunk the admiral's ship St. Francis, the remainder of the Spanish fleet, consisting of the Jesu Maria, St. Anne, Carmelite, St. James, Rosery, St. Andrew, and St. Mary being either destroyed or captured.
Other instances might be cited of the Dutch yachts of this period sailing upon distant and perilous voyages; historical records establish the fact beyond doubt or question.