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The Sailing Ship

Before Vrouw Maria reaches open water she lay in just over three weeks in the safe harbor of Amsterdam. The logbook by captain and owner Reinhold Lorenz has much to tell. On Monday 12th the loading of the cargo began, but not until September 2nd the remains of the cargo was delivered. The captain writes that they in the name of god departure in the evening the 5th same month.

There are records telling us that there was a crew of nine men onboard Vrouw Maria. She was probably a relatively large vessel because medium-sized vessels like hers in Baltic region the Dutch generally used a crew with about five men.

The motif on the painting shows where Vrouw Maria is sailing in the dark and for the moment relatively calm open water. Here she is on her way to St. Petersburg. She might have looked something like this when sailing. But things would change for the worse for the Dutch trading ship, which cargo space was used for storage for the art the three art dealer's purchased, intended for Catherine II's collections in the Winter Palace.

It is Sunday and Vrouw Maria hoists the anchors. With the help of the pilot she reaches the open waters and is sailing for a week and now its September 14th and the southwesterly wind bring rain. The conditions are difficult and the days at sea causes more and more challenges, but a week ahead she finally approaches the Danish coastline.

In the logbook the captain writes that on Monday 23rd they happily arrived to Helsingör, anchored and got into the dinghy and went onto dry land. While the captain got back in the evening to Vrouw Maria with the pilot, the wind was blowing hard, east south east.

As time passes they go through strong easterly winds and the captain writes how they struggled in the storm, and the 28th same month, while they leave Bornholm behind them, its only days before they will run aground. Without knowledge Vrouw Maria sails north to east towards the archipelago just as the stormy sea pours its salty waves up over the ship.

Logbook references taken from Vrouw Maria's log in Sunken ships (Sjunkna skepp) (1979) by Dr. Christian Ahlström

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