The Flying Dutchman

This maritime ghost story has been the most famous for more than 300 years. Captain Cornelius Vanderdecken gambled his salvation to round Cape of good hope in a storm, when he was homeward bound from Batavia. Battling against headwinds for nine weeks, the captain could not make progress. He swore to God that he would round the Cape if it took him to the day of judgement. He was doomed from that moment on. The legend says that the accursed ship moves backwards and forwards on its endless voyage, manned by ghostly crew pleading for help as they work the rigging. The superstition is that any mariner will die that day if they catch a single glimpse of the ghost ship.

The real Flying Dutchman appears to have set sail In 1660. The second legend is that captain Bernard Fokke swore that his ship would be the fastest to afloat, this happened in the second half of the 17 century. He cased his masts in iron to enable it to go faster that any other ship of the time. In the unbelievably short time of 90 days, he sailed from Rotterdam to the East Indies. In order to beat his record, the captain sold his risky soul to the devil, and on the day of Fokkes’s death his body and ship vanished. He is forever sailing the route, with only his cook, boatswain and pilot as crew, condemned forever to sail into heavy gales and never progressing.

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