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New Netherland and Beyond
New Netherland
Delaware River
Colonial New York
New York State


Log of the Ship Rensselaerswyck
on its Voyage from Amsterdam to New Netherland,
September 25, 1636 - April 7, 1637

Part I

Journal for Skipper Jan Tiepkesz Schellinger

In the year of Our Lord 1636, the 25th of September,
the boat called Rinsealaers Wijck
sailed in God's name from Amsterdam to Texel,
at about two o'clock in the afternoon.
God preserve Rinselaers Wijck!
Thursday, Sept 25
Sailed from Amsterdam and anchored before Durgerdam, a small village a short distance from Amsterdam on the north side of the IJ, with a south wind and heavy weather.

Sunday, Sept 28
Afternoon again set sail with a southwest wind and sailed to opposite Pampus, the bay of the Zuiderzee into which the IJ flows, and anchored there.

Tuesday, Sept 30
Again set sail with a south wind and came near the south buoy of the Het Vlaak, (a shoal in the Zuiderzee, southeast of the island of Wieringen).

Wednesday, Oct 1
The boat arrived at Texel and anchored in nine fathoms near the east end; the wind southwest.

Wednesday, Oct 8
The wind easterly followed by a calm.
Here lay some French traders, one Mediterranean Straits trader, two Pernambuco traders and poor fleets. The Pernambuco and the Straits trader intended to go to Ireland; so we arranged to sail together as far as Plymouth, England. We put to sea in God's name, about four o'clock in the afternoon, about 22 vessels strong, without convoy.

Thursday, Oct 9
In the morning, the wind was still S.E.; the course as before, S.W. with a stiff breeze.
At noon we saw the Flemish coast. At the same time, we saw two sails; one off the Flemish coast sailing northward, the other off the English coast sailing southward, but they did not approach us and remained unknown. In the evening toward sunset, Dunkerque, France lay about five leagues southeast from us and a west-southwest course was followed. (Note: a league is equal to three nautical miles.) The wind was then about east; it became calmer in the evening though we kept a steady breeze. As far as we could see, there lay some 12 to 15 ships in the Scheurtje, the channel between the Flemish coast and the sand bank near Dunkerque. That day we distributed rations, one to each man. During the night there was a strong wind from the east. Done once more.

Friday, Oct 10
Course W. by S., the wind as before with a steady breeze.
In the morning, Beachy Head, England lay then north-northwest, four leagues away from us. In the evening, Beachy Head lay eight leagues from us, east-northeast.
The course W.S.W.1/2 west and encountered a stiff, steady wind as before.
In the second quarter of the night, we saw a fleet coming in our direction, but did not speak with them. Done.

Saturday, Oct 11
The wind as before with rough weather.
In the morning, we saw the island of Alderney, France. It lay south by east, about six leagues from us. There the Ireland trader left the fleet. She had 20 guns as she was going toward the Scilly Islands. She had promised us, if convenient, to convoy us around the islands or past them. We followed her and proceeded westward, as that was the most convenient course for continuing our voyage. We left the fleet, and about noon, we saw a sail come from the coast. As we were but two, we prepared as well as we could for action, when we were ready, we waited for her with furled sails. When she was nearly within range of our guns, she turned away before the wind. It was a large flute with a poop. There was another ship behind us which we could barely see. She waited for it, but when it came near, she let it pass. What kind of ships they were we do not know. Start Point, Devonshire lay about west from us and we continued our course. Done.

Sunday, Oct 12
In the morning, we did not see land; the wind as before. At noon, we estimated that we were then 18 leagues E.N.E. 1/3 E. from Lizard.
The Ireland trader left us at noon and sailed northwest; we sailed west by south. Done.

Monday, Oct 13
Course W. by S., 32 leagues, wind E. by S., stiff topsail.
During the night a ship passed us going in the opposite direction. Done the past day till noon.

Tuesday, Oct 14
Course W. by S., 32 leagues, wind E.S.E., stiff topsail. In the afternoon, we set our course toward the W.S.W., with a stiff topsail breeze.
In the morning, we were near a Frenchman, whom we chased while following our course. It was a ship that came from the bank of Newfoundland. In the afternoon, another one passed us to windward, without speaking. Done

Wednesday, Oct 15
Course S.W. by W., 30 leagues, wind S.E., stiff topsail.
In the evening it began to drizzle. Done

Thursday, Oct 16
Course W.S.W., 16 leagues, wind S.E. with rough weather. By dead reckoning, we took no latitude. Dark weather. Done.

Friday, Oct 17
Course W.S.W., 18 leagues, wind E., gentle breeze. by dead reckoning, we took no latitude. Dark weather. Done.

Saturday, Oct 18
Course S.W. by W., 58 leagues, wind S.E., various breezes. Upon taking the latitude, we found the changes as above.

Sunday, Oct 19
Course S.W. by W., 20 leagues, wind E., topsail. Done.

Monday, Oct 20
Course S.W. by W., 45 leagues, fitful rough weather. Toward evening, we had sailed eight leagues W.S.W. with very rough weather from the N.N.W. During the evening it became quite calm, which lasted till daylight; then the wind changed to the south. Done.

Tuesday, Oct 21
In the morning, the wind changed to the west. It blew so hard that the topsails had to be taken in. The wind veered to the northwest. We had then sailed about three leagues to the northwest. About nine o'clock, it blew so hard that we had to take in all our sails and could not carry a single sail. An hour later, there blew a violent gale from the northwest and we then drifted east with a very rough sea. The waves rose to such an awful height that the waves and the sky seemed one. The wind turned again to the west and so it lasted the entire night. Done as far as the night is concerned.

Wednesday, Oct 22
In the morning it still blew so hard that we could not carry any sails, but the sea was calmer. The wind came from the southwest. During the night, in the second watch it grew less; we set our main sail, but toward dawn it had to be taken in again on account of the strong wind, thunder and lightning. It blew hard, the wind as above, we drifted east. Done till morning.

Thursday, Oct 23
The wind about west and we drifted east with rough weather.
We drifted from about nine o'clock on the 21st to noon of the 23rd, by reckoning 23 leagues northeast by east. No latitude had been taken for the past three days up to noon.

Friday, Oct 24
Drifted E. by N. 10 leagues. The wind about west-northwest with severe storm.
During the past day drifted without sail.

Saturday, Oct 25
Drifted E.N.E. 12 leagues, with very rough weather.
Our mizzen blew away. The wind about west during the past day.

Sunday, Oct 26
Drifted E. by S. 15 leagues, the wind about W. with rough weather.
In the evening, we bent on our new mizzen. The day gone.

Monday, Oct 27
Drifted E. by S. eight leagues; the wind from the N.W. with a stiff main sail breeze.
We ran south with our two courses but could not sail closer than southeast by south. The wind veered toward the west and we sailed till evening with the courses, keeping our course south-southeast, seven leagues. The wind then rose again from the southwest so that both the courses had to be taken in. It blew a terrible gale and we drifted then southeast by east. The day gone.

Tuesday, Oct 28
A gale still blew from the west and we still drifted southeast by east. Drifted by reckoning 12 leagues.
That night the beak of our ship was knocked to pieces. The day gone.

Wednesday, Oct 29
The wind as before but the weather fully as good. This day we made the first good observation of latitude since the 20th.
We set our main sail, but it was not long before it had to be taken in again. The wind veered to the southwest by west with rough weather, so that we were obliged to let ourselves drift. The day gone.

Thursday, Oct 30
In the morning the weather was fairly good, the wind about W.S.W. That noon we again took a fairly good observation of latitude and ran that day by drifting and sailing, keeping an E.S.E. course, 14 leagues.
Toward daybreak, we set both our courses and steered south by east, but the sea became rough again so that we could only hold to a southeast course. We took our sails in again on account of the strong wind, also because we could make no headway by sailing on account of the rough sea. Awaited the right wind. The day gone.

Friday, Oct 31
Drifted by reckoning 10 leagues E.S.E. The wind about S.W. with rough weather and high seas and an over cast sky so that we could not take the latitude. From that noon till the morning of the first of November we drifted eight leagues southeast by east. The wind about west, very high seas. The day gone.

Saturday, Nov 1
In the morning we veered toward the west and drifted north. The wind S.W. with rough weather and high seas, the past half day and entire night.

Sunday, Nov 2
Drifted 16 leagues N.E. by E.; the wind about west, with very high seas.
That day the overhang above our rudder was knocked in by severe storm. This day a child was born on the ship, and named Storm, (Albertsz Van der Zee) the mother is Annetie Barents. The day gone.

Monday, Nov 3
The wind about W.S.W. During that day we made 12 leagues, drifting and sailing and keeping a N.E. by N. course.
In the morning, the weather was fairly good. We set our courses and proceeded in a northerly direction. That evening the sails had to be taken in again on account of a strong wind from the west. The day gone.

Tuesday, Nov 4
We had drifted by reckoning N.E. by E. six leagues. The wind about west and toward evening the wind turned to the south with terribly high seas but the wind moderated. The day gone.

Wednesday, Nov 5
Drifted by dead reckoning N. by E. nine leagues, the wind about west. This day it has been about southwest with fairly good weather. The day gone.

Thursday, Nov 6
In the morning, the wind and weather were as above. At noon, with two courses, we proceeded toward the N.N.E.
Seeing little hope of getting better wind and weather soon - though God knows - having few provisions for 52 or 53 souls, the number on board to keep dry, we could oppose it no longer. In the first place, on account of the sick people whose number increased daily because of their hardships and, in the second place, because we feared that it might last a long time yet. As we had already passed Cape Finisterre, Spain, to the north of it, in great peril and were drifting into the bay, I knew nothing better to do than to hold a council with the supercargo, the mate and other advisors, to decide what had best be done in the matter. We concluded in the said council to put the helm hard up and to steer in God's name toward the English Channel and try to get into Falmouth or Plymouth, which was done. The day gone.

Friday, Nov 7
Course N.E. by N., 23 leagues, The wind about west.
Last night we drifted for six hours without sail on account of the terrible wind and high seas. During the day watch, it was a little better and we set our courses. The day gone.

Saturday, Nov 8
Course N.N.E., 31 leagues. The wind about west with a stiff topsail breeze, though most of the time we sailed with two courses.
This afternoon we sailed with two topsails and during the night again with two courses. In the forenoon, with one topsail over the ocean. The day gone.

Sunday, Nov 9
Course N.N.E., 31 leagues, the wind about W.
The past night we sailed with one course, and this day with two topsails and spritsail. We sailed then northeast. During the day watch, the wind changed to the east-northeast, varying in strength with calm and gentle breezes. Toward evening the wind changed to south-southeast, and we set our course east-northeast. The day gone.

Monday, Nov 10
Course N.E., 18 leagues, with varying winds.
Toward evening, the wind became west changing to a stiff breeze. During the night it blew so hard that we ran before the wind with a foresail. Toward evening it was somewhat better. The day gone.

Tuesday, Nov 11
Course E., 20 leagues. The wind was about S.W. and during the night we took the latitude by the stars.
The sky was overcast and weather uncertain. The day gone.

Wednesday, Nov 12
Course E., 16 leagues. The wind about west and the weather rough.
In the evening we sounded and found bottom at 85 fathoms. We then sailed northeast till the first watch was over. We judged that we were near Ushant Island, Finistere, France. We sounded again and found the same depth, good Channel ground. We thought that we were in but it began to blow very hard. In the morning there was such gale that our sails had to be taken in. Till morning.

Thursday, Nov 13
In the morning the wind was south with very rough weather. We did not yet see land. We set our mainsail with great difficulty, but took in our foresail and then sailed east-southeast. During the night in the second watch, we saw land south of us. It was very bad weather; we could not see for the rain, thunder and lightning. We ran before the wind and according to our reckoning it must be the Scilly Islands, as we later found it to be. We then sailed northwest with one lower sail. Toward daybreak the weather became a little better and in the day watch, we turned toward the land to reconnoiter. The wind changed to the south-southeast. Till morning.

Friday, Nov 14
In the morning, the wind was as above so that we could not make the land we had seen during the night. We noticed however the Seven Stones, which indicated sufficiently where we were. They were to starboard, about a league off. The wind began to get stronger again. We looked for a good roadstead and thought it advisable to run behind Cape Cornwall, so as to get into the small bay or haven which is there. When we got around the cape, the wind changed to the east and northeast then north and finally to the northwest, with terribly rough weather so that we could hardly carry half a mainsail. We got aground near the cape and at twilight our foresail blew away, for we were obliged to carry all the sail we could; and our main sheet broke and we let ourselves be driven to the north with one sail. In the second watch, the mainsail had to be taken in too, for it was no longer possible to carry any sail, as one thing or another would break and we were driven east-northeast. Till morning.

Saturday, Nov 15
In the morning, the land lay close under our lee and we drifted toward it. We concluded to set our foresail and, as we could not keep away from the shore, to run in near the land during the day, thinking that we might make a port there called Padstow Haven, or else Stratton. When we came near the shore, we were too far down. We were driven by the strong current so that with our foresail only we were carried along the shore, trying to find some place where the ship and people would be safe. As it became late in the day, we decided that we could do no better than to run to an anchorage or land which we saw. Which according to the description of the book must be a harbor, and concluded, if possible, to run in or else to beach the ship, on account of the strong current and the severe west-northwest storm and the fact that we were in a bay. Commending ourselves to God, we ran toward it with reefed foresail. When we came close to the shore, the weather seemed to calm down and clear up a little, for it had been very dark before. We saw Lundy Island and hastily turned so as to sail on the wind, tacked and carried all the sail we could. We again raised our main topmast, which had not been up in eight or ten days, and set both the topsails. It seemed as if we would capsize or all our sails blow away. We headed for a point above the cape called Hartland Point. During the night we came with God's help, to anchor under the lee of Lundy in 20 fathoms with a west-northwest wind. Till morning.

Sunday, Nov 16
In the morning the wind was as above.
We weighed anchor and set sail for a harbor called Ilfracombe, about four leagues from the island. On our way we saw a ship without mast drift by. Coming near the harbor, a pilot came on board and brought us in. We found two Dutch ships lying there. One came from Spain with salt, and the other came from the West Indies; they also were driven from their course by the storm. The ship which came from Spain was in Ireland, or near Cape Clear among the cliffs, and thought from its course and reckoning that it was among the Scilly Islands and happened to get here. Neither did the other, which was among the islands, know where it was and it came here also toward evening. Till morning.

Monday, Nov 17
The wind as above with rain and strong wind storm, so that we could not do anything to repair the ship, but only supply the people with some fresh provisions. Some families went on land.

Tuesday, Nov 18
Wind and weather as above. Dirck Corssen Stam, supercargo of the vessel, went to Plymouth.

Wednesday, Nov 19
Wind and weather as above.

Thursday, Nov 20
As above.

Friday, Nov 21
Wind was east with rough weather.

Saturday, Nov 22
The wind west with bad weather.

Sunday, Nov 23
As above.

Monday, Nov 24
I went to Barnstable where two English vessels lay, to arrange to sail in company with them.

Tuesday, Nov 25
Wind and weather as above.

Wednesday, Nov 26
Thursday, Nov 27
Friday, Nov 28
As above.

Saturday, Nov 29
Dirck Corssen came back from Plymouth.

Sunday, Nov 30
Wind and weather as above.

Monday, Dec 1
Abatement of weather and wind.

Tuesday, Dec 2
The wind was S.E. with a stiff gale and dark weather.

Wednesday, Dec 3
The two ships set sail from here with two Newfoundland traders. Wind east.

Thursday, Dec 4
The storm blew from the east.

Friday, Dec 5
Saturday, Dec 6
Sunday, Dec 7
The wind and weather as above.

Monday, Dec 8
The wind as above.
In the evening, some of our passengers had gone on land to sit and drink in the tavern. Where we were sitting with an English merchant to sell our goods, there were two there, of whom one struck the other to the ground, named Cornelis Thomasz the smith, and the offender was his helper, Hans van Sevenhuysen, and.............(sentence not finished in the original).

Tuesday, Dec 9
It was a day of prayer here for the whole neighborhood on account of the severe sickness which God is sending them. The wounded man died this morning and was buried in the afternoon.

Wednesday, Dec 10
The wind and weather as above. We began to get our hold ready.

Thursday, Dec 11
Friday, Dec 12
Saturday, Dec 13
Sunday, Dec 14
Monday, Dec 15
Tuesday, Dec 16
Wind and weather as above.

Wednesday, Dec 17
The Wind and weather as above.
As the matters relating to the accident had not yet been cleared up, they took the rudder from our ship and brought it on land, on account of the crime.

Thursday, Dec 18
The weather was changeable, but not of the best.

Friday, Dec 19
Saturday, Dec 20
Sunday, Dec 21
As Above.

Monday, Dec 22
The body was dug up again and the wound viewed by the criminal and the coroner, or schout.

Tuesday, Dec 23
They carried the offender away in the name of the king and let us fetch our rudder from land again and go free.

Wednesday, Dec 24
A severe storm blew from the W.S.W.

Thursday, Dec 25
The weather was fair and the wind as above.

Friday, Dec 26
As above.

Saturday, Dec 27
Wind as above.
Dirck Coersen came from Barnstable and said that a Dutch ship had come to Appledore, in Devonshire and that another lying under the lee of Lundy had been anchored there for five days. They came from La Rochelle, France, and had set sail with us. Some other ships had been with them in this bay, but he did not know what had become of them on account of the bad weather.

Sunday, Dec 28
Monday, Dec 29
Tuesday, Dec 30
Wind and weather as above.

Wednesday, Dec 31
Wind and weather as above.
End of the year 1636, by God's mercy, in Ilfracombe.

End of Part I

Continue to Part II

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