Bernard Fokkes

  • Simply Weird
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

While the name Bernard Fokke will jog no memories today, His name and exploits may well have ''began'' another well known nautical legend – that of ''The Flying Dutchman''. As we have delved into prior, this rather ancient bit of mythos deals with a cursed Dutch Captain who (along with His Crew and Ship), was cursed by God to forever wander The Seas until ''redeemed'' by a ''selfless act''. And while MANY variations on this theme are known, The ''Dutchman'' has inspired tales of terror for sailors for generations. But the legend may have been well rooted in reality. Enter one Captain Bernard Fokkes (a Dutchman, of course) – who was a member of the famed Dutch-East India Merchant Agency of the 17th Century. The Agency was a foremost leader in exploiting ''The New World'' for goods transported back to Europe (as many sea faring Nations were at the time).

But Fokkes and His Missions seemed to take on an almost ''supernatural theme'' to most. He was said to be able to navigate a voyage in a greatly reduced time than would be normally possible. To illustrate, an ''average'' sea voyage from Europe to The Americas (gibing to good weather and time of season), could take 3 to 6 months. With a fair ''turnaround time'' of no less than a week, another 3 to 6 months was added (again factoring in weather and season). In short, a full year was required. However, Fokkes was said to accomplish His voyages in 3 to 6 month IN TOTAL. This quickly led to ''reasoning'' (especially by jealous English and French rival Merchant Companies) – that Fokkes had made a ''deal with The Devil, ala His Soul!) As such, Fokkes and His Ship had ''supernatural help''. And while several historical ''accounts'' detail that Fokkes did in fact completed several voyages in ''record time'', Known of these could (and are) proven. Hence was born ''The Flying Dutchman'' tale.

In truth, what may have really happened was the application of a previous unknown (only to The Dutch) route which was known as The ''Brouwer Route'' (discovered in 1611). This ''roundabout'' navigation did cut a general route nearly in half. Rather than a round trip of 12-months, One could accomplish a trek to The New World in 9 months (still a major feat in The ''Age of Sail''). Clever Navigator or an actual recipient of The ''Devil's Favor''? It depends on One's ''perspective''..........