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Friday, August 24, 2007

The retourschip Prins Willem, built in 1649

As I have written before, Herbert Tomessen, model maker extraordinaire with Artitec, believes that the VOC retourschip Prins Willem, built in 1649, was the same approximate size as the retourschip Oranje, which fought the Duke of York at the Battle of Lowestoft in 1665. He thinks that the ships were about 170ft long and had a beam of 38ft. The famous model of the Prins Willem is in storage at the depot on the military base next to the Scheepvaart Museum. That is where Ab Hoving, the other great model maker and ship expert showed it to me. It was wrapped in plastic for protection while it was being stored. Apparently, there is some source that gives the length of the Prins Willem as being 181ft. Witte de With's journal gives the armament as 56 guns in September 1652. The Prins Willem was given back to the VOC in 1653 and went back into service making voyages to the Far East, and was eventually wrecked in 1662. The Prins Willem was a poor sailer and was difficult to steer, all of which made the ship a poor warship.

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