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Friday, July 04, 2008

The hired ships Pelicaen and Gouden Reael

I had forgotten that I had dimensions for the Amsterdam hired ships Pelicaen and Gouden Reael. Those two ships were hired in mid-1653 and served up through the voyage to Norway from September to November 1653. Both ships survived the storm off the Texel, as I recall. Many of the hired ships were long and narrow. Despite what David K. Brown wrote in his article about the speed and form of sailing ships. His thesis was that the form of sailing ships was irrelevant, due to the low speed-length ratio (speed in knots/sqrt(length in feet)). That is a valid assertion, but the length-to-beam ratio is still important for speed. Short wide ships have more resistance than long narrow ships. This is really intuitive and based on our experience. All you have to do is experiment with a short, wide, piece of wood. Push it in the water and see how fast it moves. Then try the same experiment with a long, narrow piece of wood. Even though both have flat ends, the long, narrow one will move faster and with less effort. Both the Pelicaen (24 guns) and the Gouden Reael (28 guns) had length-to-beam ratios above 4.0.

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