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Zeepard was a yacht of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and made five voyages between Holland and Batavia in the East Indies during her career between 1656 and 1665. She wrecked on her last voyage in Ireland, on her way to Batavia.

Zeepard left Wielingen in Zeeland on the 28th of October and was at the beginning of a long journey to the Dutch East Indies when she was driven into Broadhaven Bay after enduring severe storms at sea, which left her in a bad condition. Once in the bay, the ship was beaten to pieces, and she eventually sunk. About 74 men lost their lives when Zeepard was lost.

At the time, the sinking of Zeepaard was written about in a newspaper called the Oxford Gazette, which stated "...The ship ran ashore in the county of Mayo, proves a ship of Middleborough,..., the Sea Horse, bound for the East Indies,...., she was much beaten at sea,....."(see references).

Route Achterom

Because The Republic and England were at war (The Second Anglo-Dutch War 1665-1667) the northern route was taken to avoid the dangerous English Chanel where English warships patrolled. This route was called 'Achterom'.

Drawing of a yacht from 1671.

Archaeological description

The wreck of Zeepard was partly salvaged immediately after sinking due to her location in shallow waters. The present archaeological site is therefore incomplete as a result of these and later salvage attempts, but also due to the remains of another vessel, Santiago of the Spanish Armada, that lies at the same location. No remains of the hull appear to survive at the site. Examples of artifacts found include bricks, coal, clay pipes, earthenware,and iron cannons. Most items recovered were heavily concreted or encrusted.


Example of a "Baardmankruik" similar to the one found belonging to the Zeepaard.


Type: yacht
Built:  yard Middelburg, 1655
Owner: VOC chamber Zeeland
Tonnage:  200 last
Complement: 150

The difference between a pinas and a yacht is not always clear, although in VOC archives both the names are used. What is clear is that they were both designed to be small and fast, and were used for both war and commerce. One famous yacht was theDuyfken. In 1606, Duyfken was the first European ship to explore and chart a part of the western Australian coast. Another Dutch yacht, Hoorn, was wrecked in Puerto Deseado, Argentina, in 1615.

The ship to the left is a yacht on departure from Batavia to China (Pieter van Doornik 1668).


The site is protected under the National Monuments Act and the site is officially registered in the shipwreck inventory of Ireland database as W06783.


Broadhaven Bay, location of the Zeepaard wreck.


  • Oxford Gazette (London, England) December 21, 1665 – December 25, 1665; Issue 12.
  • Oxford Gazette (London, England) December 28, 1665 – January 1, 1666; Issue 14.

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