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Historical Description

The Vergulde Draeck sailed in October 1655 from Holland tothe East Indies, bound for Batavia, what is now Jakarta, with a cargo valued at around fl. 185,000. From the Cape of Good Hope, she had to travel around 5000 miles east before turning north to head for the East Indies. This route, with the sharp left turn near Australia, was known as the Brouwers route. Unfortunately, because navigational tools at the time of led to incorrectly established longitude, Vergulde Draeck sailed too far east and met the Western Australian coast. On the 28th April, 1656, she struck a reef near the Suyd land in Australia. Only 75 of the original 193 men on board made it to the shore.

Seven sailors were sent to Batavia in an open boat in search of help. They reached Batavia after sailing for 41 days, at which point the Dutch authorities sent to ships to retrieve the cargo (which was minted silver along with cargo worth 90,000 euros) and the crew, but the ships did not succeed. Two more expeditions were sent, but both failed to recover any members of the missing crew, although some wreckage wasseen in the region of Fremantle.


A yacht of the Dutch East India Company built in 1653. First voyage 1655 from Texel (Holland) to Batavia started in October 1655.

Built for the VOC (Dutch East India Company) chamber of Amsterdam.
Built: 1653 in Amsterdam.
Length: 41.8 meters.
Width: 9.8 meters.
Draft: 4.1 meters.
Tonnage: 130 lasts (260 ton).
Crew: 193.

Merchant ship Mercurius on roadstead (Willem van de Velde 1649).


Partly preserved in situ.
Protected by law: Historic Shipwreck Act 1976.

World War II

Sunken Treasures