The Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation today announced that the go-ahead has been obtained from The Netherlands for the Australian-built replica ship Duyfken (the Little Dove) to sail the longest re-enactment voyage ever contemplated in an "Age of Discovery" replica ship. This tiny (24 metre long) vessel will begin her adventurous voyage will begin the voyage from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on Saturday 5 May, sailing north to Queensland and then Jakarta in Indonesia, across the Indian Ocean and into the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. The crew's destination will be the island of Texel, near Amsterdam in The Netherlands: more than 18,200 nautical miles and 12 months away.
The VOC 2002 Duyfken Voyage will mark the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the world's first multinational trading company, the United East India Company (VOC) which pioneered the Dutch spice trade. It has been more than 300 years since a Dutch "jacht" has sailed the spice route which brought cargoes of untold wealth back from East Asia to the markets of Europe. The wealth from spices helped create the Dutch "Golden Age" and resulted in a flowering of culture. Artists such as Rembrandt made an impact on European art and Dutch scientists made many new discoveries.
The voyage has been funded by the VOC 2002 Steering Committee in The Netherlands to sail the historic spice route from Jakarta to Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Cape Town, St Helena, Ascension Island, the Azores and on to The Netherlands. The Committee is responsible for coordinating the events in The Netherlands to mark the 400th anniversary. Duyfken will become the ambassador ship for the celebrations, and then return to Fremantle, Western Australia in late 2002/2003 to be placed on permanent exhibition. Duyfken is the only fully-seagoing Dutch "Age of Discovery" vessel sailing in the world pre-dating Captain Cook's ship Endeavour by almost 170 years.
The voyage is a joint venture of the Fremantle-based Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation and the Dutch-based Stichting Duyfken VOC 2002 Nederland, chaired by Mr Benno van Tilburg. "After 400 years the Duyfken is coming home next year and she will be playing a major role in the celebrations of 2002. The Duyfken will be visiting every Dutch city with a VOC past like Amsterdam, Enkhuizen, Hoorn, Texel, Rotterdam, Delft and Zeeland," said Duyfken VOC 2002 Nederland chairman Benno van Tilburg.
"The Duyfken VOC 2002 Voyage will be the longest re-enactment voyage in a faithful replica of an Age of Discovery ship ever undertaken anywhere," said Duyfken project director Graeme Cocks. Mr Cocks said the voyage was an exceptional opportunity which may never be repeated.
"Duyfken is in excellent condition, little more than one year old and she has been thoroughly trialled after 8,500 nautical miles of sailing through Australian and Indonesian waters on the Chevron 2000 Duyfken Expedition.
"The voyage route has been meticulously evaluated to enable the Duyfken Foundation to be confident that the ship can meet a deadline to arrive in The Netherlands on 30 April 2002, Queen Beatrix's birthday." The VOC 2002 Voyage will fullfil a long held ambition of the Duyfken 1606 Replica Foundation for Duyfken to visit her "spiritual" home in The Netherlands.
He said that the re-enactment of a spice trading voyage in an accurate replica of a Dutch VOC ship is an opportunity which may never be repeated in our lifetimes. The crew from Sydney will comprise 16 Australian and Dutch adventurers, with more Dutch seafarers joining in Jakarta. Conditions on board will be tough, with some legs as long as 55 days. Crew facilities on board are extremely basic. For example, the ship does not have freezers, and only a small galley. Duyfken is currently on exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney. She will spend some time in dry dock next week, but will be back on exhibition at the Museum continuously from Good Friday 13 April until 4 May. Visitors to the museum over the Easter holiday break will see the crew preparing the little ship for her mammoth voyage. Duyfken is a full seagoing replica of the first recorded ship to visit Australia - the Dutch trading ship Duyfken or "Little Dove" which sailed from Banda to the Pennefather River in Queensland in 1606. Updates of the ship's progress are posted on the Captain's Log at the Duyfken website, www.duyfken.com