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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nominal dimensions and converting between Maas feet and Amsterdam feet

In Vreugdenhil's list for 1648 to 1652, he uses Maas feet for Rotterdam ships, but does not say that. A Maas foot has 12 inches and was about 308mm or more in length. An Amsterdam foot is divided into 11 inches and was about 283mm long. He gave the dimensions for a group of ships as 106ft x 25ft x 9.5ft, which are the dimensions in the Staet van Oorlog te Water for the year 1654. One of these ships was named Gorinchem, also called the Gorcum. Dr. Weber, in his book about the Four Days' Battle, gave the dimensions in Amsterdam feet as 116ft x 27ft x 11ft. Ron van Maanen gives more precise, measured dimensions: 115'7" x 27'3" x 10'10". These are very close to what I would expect if the dimensions in Maas feet were: 106ft x 25ft x 10ft, which is what is given in a list of Rotterdam ships from 26 February 1652. A rough and ready conversion is to multiply a length in Maas feet by 12 and divide by 11. For fractions, multiply times 11 and you get the number of inches. Sources:
  1. Admiralty of Rotterdam, List of ships from 26 February 1652
  2. Ron van Maanen, unpublished manuscript "Dutch Warships 1600-1800", undated but circa 1992
  3. H.A. van Foreest and R.E.J. Weber, De Vierdaagse Zeeslag 11-14 Juni 1666, 1984
  4. Staet van Oorlog te Water for the year 1654, 1654

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