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Smakship in a Bottle 

- by Frans Dekker


In the year 2011 I built a Smakship, about 60 cm in length overall. A typical Dutch’s ship that sailed over de rivers and de coasts of Holland, Denmark, Germany, Norway, England and other countries in Europe. These kind of ship were seen from about de year 1660 until 1850.


I have two daughters and they asked me to make a ship in a bottle for them. So I made for my youngest daughter an old fishing ship, the Blazer TX11. And for my oldest daughter I had in mind to make a Smakship. So I did.



The hull is made of peer wood. In first attempt I had the plan to make it in 4 quarters before it was finished I found a more beautiful bottle. So I put the ship in 2 parts into the bottle. The first difficult thing to do was the upper part of the hull. It was made of very thin triplex (0.5 mm) and it had a typical end, a so-called fence. Inside the fence there is a construction that hold the mizzen mast. The structure above the deck, the house, and the loading part are made out of one part of peerwood. It is put on to the deck whit little copper nails. At the bow you can see the wooden windlass and the jib. A few hatches are on deck.



Before the mainmast and the great sail there are wooden aisle. These kind of ships had very difficult type of rigging. The rigging goes from the two topsails past the end of the gaff. That makes 2 ropes with stays on each side to hold the gaff. To put the smakship in to the bottle the mainmast had to come down backwards and the mizzen had to come down forwards. Therefore the rope of the under block of the mizzen sail was getting true the end of the so called parrot wood. So when the ship was into the bottle I had only to pull that rope to get the mizzenmast up. To get the mainmast downwards I had to unfasten the jib’s of the fore sails. At the end of every ropes I made a little noose so I good put them in the bottle tight to a clamp that was at the inside of the hull. The sea was made of plasticine. The top of the gulfs are painted white. The bottles rests on a stand with a plaque that reads: “1660 Smakship 1850”.



It was not so difficult to put the ship into the bottle and everything was going as planned. There was one thing I good have done better. The mizzen mast is standing 1 or 1½ mm to much backwards but I cannot chance it any more.



After all, I am very satisfied whit this model. Frans Dekker


Ship:                   Hull length                  172 mm

                            Height                        138 mm

                            Hull width                     28 mm


Bottle:                Length                         330 mm

                           Width                           175 mm

                           Neck Opening               34 mm