Model of the fluyt ‘Vrouwtje van Stavoren’ (Lady of Stavoren)

MB-vrouwtje-van-stavoren-_DSC7007The Vrouwtje van Stavoren was a straatvaarder: a fluyt which was designed for voyages along the southern European coast. It carried relatively few canons on board and probably transported mostly French wines.

The Vrouwtje van Stavoren was built in 1659 in Friesland. It was 35 meters long and 7 meters at the beam. It was a fluyt ship. This type of cargo ship was developed in Hoorn and was responsible for a shipbuilding and economic upheaval. They sailed rapidly, were easy and quick to load and they only needed a small crew. In addition, a big advantage was the low construction costs compared to other East Indiamen. Armament was light, which would be strange for an East Indiaman. Most likely, the voyage didn’t go any further than France. The Mediterranean Sea was teeming with hijackers, which is why heavy armament was necessary for longer voyages. The export of French wines was partially in Dutch hands. Traders in the Netherlands purchased the wines and sold them to all the other European countries. Even the transportation of the wine was taken care of by Dutch ships.

There is no illustration of the Vrouwtje van Stavoren. A similar ship is the Spaensvaeder, painted by Reinier Nooms. In front, sitting on the bowsprit, a sailor is working on the rope and tackle. The sails of the ship have been hoisted. It’s now a matter of waiting for easterly winds in order to set sail.