Duyfken Sets Sail for Western Australia


The Duyfken replica sailing ship is expected to arrive in Western Australian waters for the first time in more than five years in the next few days.

Duyfken's crew plan to set sail on the outgoing tide from Darwin Harbour tomorrow (Thursday 26 July 2012). They are over now over half way through a voyage which began at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney in March, then went north via Brisbane to far north Queensland, through Torres Strait, across the Gulf of Carpentaria and through the Arafura Sea to Darwin.

From Darwin, Duyfken Ship's Master Matthew Bolton will set sail west through the Timor Sea to the north of the Kimberley region and into the Indian Ocean. He expects to make his next landfall at Port Hedland in on Sunday 19 August 2012.

The most challenging leg of the whole voyage is expected to be from Port Hedland to Geraldton where the winds are not expected to be favourable for a 16 th century sailing ship.

The Duyfken replica could be the first “jacht” (the Dutch name for the Duyfken's ship design) to attempt a southerly passage against the prevailing winds for 383 years. The most notable jacht to do so was the Sardam which was Fransisco Pelsaert's rescue ship which sailed south from Batavia (Jakarta) to rescue the survivors of the Batavia shipwreck in October 1629.

When Pelsaert took Batavia's long boat from the Abrolhos Islands to find help in Batavia it took him 33 days for the voyage thanks to strong following winds, but his return voyage south aboard the jacht Sardam took two months.

Duyfken's voyage from Sydney returns Duyfken to her home port of Fremantle on 23 September thanks to a 10 year funding agreement between the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation and the Government of Western Australia.

Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation chairman Graeme Cocks said that a gala public welcome is planned for the vessel when she arrives in Fremantle after the momentous return voyage.

“We are hoping to invite everyone who helped build the vessel, sail aboard her, or even visited the ship whilst she was being built in Fremantle to welcome the ship and her crew back to her home port,” he said.

Duyfken will be available in Perth for school visits as a part of the new national curriculum and open for public viewing.