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A 16th–19th-century flat-bottomed trading Dutch vessel (vlieboot) with a very high and ornate stern, and with one or two masts either square rigged on both or with a spritsail on the mainmast. They were of about 100 tons, and used mainly for local coastal traffic. At the beginning of the 17th century they were replaced by the fluyt which in England was also known as a fly-boat. ‘The major achievement of the Dutch ship designers, the fluyt was to have an enormous influence on shipbuilding, particularly in England. The herring buss had a length to beam ratio of near 4 : 1. By 1610 the length to beam ratio of the fluyt had become 6 : 1 and the vessel—little more than a floating hold with a flat bottom and near vertical stem and sternposts—was designed to carry a maximum amount of cargo’ (R. Hope, A New History of British Shipping (1990), 169). It had one square sail on the foremast and two on the mainmast. It also had a lateen mizzen-mast and a spritsail under the bowsprit. ‘The early fluyts were about 150 tons, but the size increased rapidly to 200 tons and some were built to exceed 400 tons. It sailed well’ (ibid.).

Subjects: Maritime History.

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