I am at the moment reading. The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman. It takes place in an appartment building called Batavia - named after a Dutch East Indiaman built in 1628 in Amsterdam. It was wrecked on its maiden voyage off the Australian coast. 40 out of a crew of 341 drowned, but the rest reached a small island. Lack of water and food made the commander Francisco Pelsaert, together with some of the officers, sail for help in the ship's boat. In his absence a mutiny broke loose under command of one of the company's officials - Jeronimus Cornelisz.
More than 100 people were slaughtered by him and his followers. A group of soldiers led by Wiebe Hayes fought the mutineers from a nearby island, and when Pelsaert returned he succeeded with the help of these soldiers to overcome the rebellion. Most mutineers were hanged, some whipped, some keelhauled and two were cast off in Australian mainland.
In 1985 the reconstruction of Batavia began. To increase interest in East Indiamans and also to provide a training center for building ships, sail making, rigging and woodcarving. We followed the progress by visiting the yard in Lelystad in 1990 - 1992 and 1994.
Batavia is a good 45 meter long and has been one of the biggest ships of its time. The ships had to be big to carry goods, a crew of 200-300 people and provisions for the whole journey.
Much of the timber is oak from Denmark (1800 cubic meter). The 19 meter long bowsprit is made of one larch tree also from Denmark. l
It was important the ship was well armed. There were 32 guns on Batavia.
On a wooden ship open fire is a huge risk. This is bricked and lined wit copper plates.
|The tiller 1994|
|Sail making workshop 1994.|