Half Moon rises over Montrose Harbour

The 'Halve Maen' or ' Half Moon' aboard the Big Lift's Traveller as she sailed into Montrose
The 'Halve Maen' or ' Half Moon' aboard the Big Lift's Traveller as she sailed into Montrose

The impressive replica of a boat, from the deck of which Henry Hudson discovered what is modern day New York, visited Montrose Harbour.

Over the weekend a distinctive bright yellow ship, Big Lift’s Traveller, arrived in the port carrying an interesting cargo in the form of a reproduction of the 17th century sailing ship.

The Halve Maen, known as Half Moon in English, is a full-size and fully operational replica of the ship in which famous explorer Henry Hudson, whom the Hudson River is named after, sailed from the Netherlands in 1609 in his search for the North-West Passage.

This is the second reproduction of the boat to be made, after the first was destroyed in a fire in the 1930s.

The vessel is making her final voyage across the Atlantic, from America to the Netherlands, retracing the original vessel’s journey more than 400 years ago.

After completing the shooting of an HBO movie at Lynn, Massachusetts, the replica ship Half Moon sailed to Newport, Rhode Island, on April 1, where she was loaded aboard the MV Traveller for transport to the Netherlands.

The reproduction ship, launched in Albany, New York in 1989, is being loaned to the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, the Netherlands, by her owners, the New Netherland Museum of Albany.

She has graced American waters for the past 25 years as a floating museum.

In Hoorn she will serve as an ambassador of the region once known as New Netherland — now the states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

The ship will be formally presented by American officials to the people of the kingdom of the Netherlands, in ceremonies at Hoorn on May 23. In the Netherlands she will take part in the Sail Amsterdam 2015 festival in August.

Mark Cessford, general manager at Rix Shipping, said: “I doubt if I ever can really imagine what it must have been like to set out on ‘voyages of discovery’, only gut instinct and the use of the sun and stars to assist with navigation, unlike the modern vessels with every electronic gadget going.”

“As a crew member on a ship like that, there must have been many bleak days and lots of wondering whether they would ever see land or indeed their homeland again.

“It looks so small and conditions must have been very cramped.

“It is an extremely important part of Dutch maritime history and we are pleased that we have altered our normal discharge procedures to facilitate the ship to travel on top of the hatches that we would expect to discharge our woodpulp from.”

He added: “Woodpulp that is on the ship is from Eastport, Maine. Currently, there are approximately 25,000 tonnes of pulp that arrive in Montrose each year from this port in the USA.”

English sea explorer Henry Hudson was chosen by merchants of the Dutch East India Company in the Netherlands to find an easterly passage to Asia.

Having heard rumours of a passage to the Pacific Hudson and his crew decided to try to seek a westerly passage through North America, after their proposed route through the Arctic Ocean north of Russia was blocked by ice.

They sailed across the North Atlantic to Newfoundland and then worked as far as south Chesapeake Bay, before returning northwards via Delaware Bay into what is now named the River Hudson.

Hudson sailed inland as far as modern day Albany, before realising that it was not a route to the East Indies and returned to Europe.

In 1909, the Kingdom of the Netherlands presented the United States with a replica of Halve Maen to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Hudson’s voyage. Unfortunately, the replica was destroyed in fire in 1934.

Eighty years later in 1989, the New Netherland Museum commissioned a second replica of Halve Maen, officially Anglicized as Half Moon, which was constructed in Albany, New York.