Started Sailing

Need for speed and violence led to elegance: the Dutch Yacht and the Pinnace.

by Han
(Brittany, France)

Dutch Yaght 17th century.

Dutch Yaght 17th century.

Several factors incited the Dutch at the end of the 15th. century to develop small, shallow-draught, fast, seaworthy and easily manoeuvrable, close-to-the-wind sailing ships: the abundance of shallow waters around the coast and the possession of a big fleet of deep-draught merchantmen which often had to anchor far from the coast; the need for messengers between the ships of a fleet, and scouting tasks.

They were built as improvements of existing fishing boats and inland waterway-vessels, with side-boards and rigged fore-and-aft: one mast with a quadrangle spritsail as main, and a triangular staysail in front, often supplemented with a jib rigged to the removable jib-boom. They were called yaghts, the Dutch word for "fast running". In the picture you see the model of the yaght built for a Dutch prince; later one was built as a present to the English king, who went racing with it; thence the English word "yachting" for the sport. See also:

The Dutch used to race them too: see the beautiful painting on and and use the zoom-function to see the details!

Later the spritsail was replaced with a gaffsail because that had better aerodynamical qualities and was easier to handle. This rig was the fore-runner of the Bermuda rig.

Bigger versions of this modern yacht, with additional square sails, were often used as privateers, see: ttp://, and evolved to the Pinnace in the beginning of the 17th. century, see:

Click here to post comments

Return to Han Blog.

Random Tip of the Day:

Find Started Sailing on Facebook
Follow Started Sailing on Twitter

Smooth Sailing
Sailing Games
Sailing Photos

Privacy Policy | Disclaimer
Copyright EMAR Publishers © 2009-2011