Sailing the Last East Indiaman - Batavia is a tribute to indeed that very last East Indiaman under sail.
The original Batavia was built in Amsterdam around 1628. On her maiden voyage to the East Indies the ship floundered on the West Coast of ‘Terra Australis’ - Australia. That tragic event became one of the most gruesome stories in maritime history. In the 1960’s the wreck of the Batavia was discovered near the Abrolhos islands near Geraldton Western Australia.
Between 1985 and 1995 the new Batavia was reconstructed by Dutch Shipwright Willem Vos and a large number of volunteers who joined him to learn a new trade.
No technical drawings existed. Willem had to reconstruct the ship with research of historical resources, paintings, archives, material lists, the Vasa in Sweden etc. His goal was to build a ship exactly the way it would have been built back in 1628. He succeeded, the ship is a genuine reconstruction of a 17th century Dutch merchant ship, when one steps on board it is like stepping back in time, the solid Oak beams , the smell of Tar and Hessian, the Flax sails, the absence of modern technology . . .
His dream to see the Batavia under sail came true in 2000. The ship was transported to Sydney to add some Dutch ‘spice’ to the celebration of the Olympic games. A group of Dutch-Australian migrants organised the first sailing of the Batavia ever, on the ocean out of Sydney. The international crew of sailors performed as if they had sailed the ship for ever, and .... certainly could go on for ever. The Batavia performed fabulous !
Dutch - Australian photographer Jaap Roskam was before his migration already a great photographic supporter of the Batavia shipyard in the Netherlands. To his astonishment he became the sole professional photographer of the Batavia in Sydney. Many of his unique ‘Batavia’ photos found their ways in magazines , posters and books all over the world. In 2001 Jaap learned himself the trade of Book designer, Printer and Bookbinder and set out of to produce a limited edition of a luxury bound book with his photos. Between 2001 and 2006 he produced 175 fully handmade books, some of which found their way to collectors , museum libraries and as gifts to dignitaries like the Dutch Royal family. In 2002 5 copies of the book where auctioned for a charity , the auction took place on Beacon island in the Abrolhos Grooup off the West Australian coast. Each book fetched well over One Thousand Australian Dollars !! I was not a little-bit pride as you may understand!
In 2011 Jaap ‘discovered’ the new technology of on-demand-printing via the internet. And he decided to publish the book again, he revised some sections and refreshed the image quality with the better digital tools at hand. He selected the international company ‘Blurb’ to produce his book and make it available to a wider audience all over the world.
'Sailing the Last East Indiaman - Batavia' is not just a photo book, it is a historic document about one of he worlds most unique Sailing Ships ever built. A journey back in time on board of the most authentic built East Indiaman afloat. The book opens with a word by the shipwright Willem Vos then continues with a brief history about the Batavia and its reconstruction and then in full glory shows the many sailing photos. All composed in a beautiful design inspired by old maps and maritime illustrations.
Although this new edition of the book is not 'Limited' in a sense of restricted by numbers .... I hope it will run and sell for ever and a day ... It is sill a partially hand made book, not mass produced in huge quantities. When you order a book it will be especially made for you , or for the one you give it to as a valuable very special maritime gift.
Sailing the Last East Indiman - Batavia
Jaap Roskam - 2001 - 2011