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stepping stones of maritime history


In June 1652, Blake was to intercept the Dutch East Indies convoy. The convoy was expected to make its way home to the Netherlands around the northern coast of Scotland in order to avoid English warships in the Channel. Blake sailed north with most of his fleet on 27 June, leaving Sir George Ayscue to guard the Channel.
While there, he also took aggressive action in breaking up the North Sea fishing fleet—a pride of the Dutch. While on patrol near Fair Isle on July 24, Lieutenant-Admiral Tromp spotted Captain Blake and his fleet.

In another turn of extraordinary events, another fierce storm took hold in their location that lasted for three days. It seems it was another disaster, as the Dutch squadron was smashed apart on the rocks of Sumburgh Head.

Captain Blake ended up ducking into Bressay Sound to avoid the winds and waves. Most of his fleet was damaged to some degree, but all of his ships managed to stay afloat. On July 27, the fierce storm began to subside and both the English and the Dutch fleets set a course to their own home ports. Both sides limped back; however, Tromp’s fleet had halved in size.


Type: Armed merchant
Owner: Hired by the Admiralty Amsterdam
Dimensions: 127 x 27 x 12.5 ft
Complement: 110
Master: Maarten de Graeff
Armament: 36

Down on 11 December

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