The Flying Dutchman was an infamous supernatural ghost ship. Originally, the Dutchman held the sacred task of collecting all the poor souls who died at sea and ferrying them to the afterlife. During the Golden Age of Piracy, the Dutchman would become a ship feared by many across the seven seas.
According to legends and lore, the Flying Dutchman was given to Davy Jones by his love, the sea goddess Calypso, who gave Jones the duty of ferrying the souls who died at sea into the next world. After ten years, Jones would be free to come ashore to be with Calypso. But whenever Davy Jones came ashore, Calypso was nowhere to be found. This ultimately resulted in Jones carving out his own heart, and locking it in the Dead Man's Chest. Jones abandoned his duty, instead wreaking havoc on the seas and unleashing the Kraken upon many vessels. He also preyed on wayward sailors lost at sea who wished to avoid death and final judgment, press-ganging them into his crew, eventually becoming part of the Dutchman itself.
Many years later, the crew of the Black Pearl would run afoul of the Flying Dutchman due to Jack Sparrow's debt with its captain. Sparrow tried to escape service aboard the Dutchman by possessing Jones' heart. The heart later found its way into the possession of Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company, who would use the Flying Dutchman and its crew to lead his armada in the War Against Piracy. This eventually forced a confrontation with the Brethren Court off the coast of Shipwreck Island. The Flying Dutchman became locked in a titanic battle with the Black Pearl. In the midst of the chaos, Will Turner stabbed the heart of Davy Jones, thereby killing Jones and replacing him as the new captain of the Dutchman.
With the death of Davy Jones, both the Flying Dutchman and its crew returned to their former forms. They aided the pirates in destroying the HMS Endeavour, defeating Beckett. After the battle, Turner took on fulfilling the duty for which the Dutchman was originally designed for. Approximately two decades later, the curse aboard the ship was broken, thus leaving the current status of the ship, its crew, and its purpose unknown.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Intended purpose
- 1.2 Cursed ship
- 1.3 In Beckett's hands
- 1.4 A new captain
- 2 Design and appearance
- 3 Behind the scenes
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Sources
- 6 Notes and references
- 7 External links
Ferrying the dead to the afterlife
According to the famed legend, command of the Flying Dutchman was originally given to Davy Jones by the sea goddess Calypso. Because the two were in love, Jones was charged with the sacred task of collecting all the souls who died at sea, and ferrying them to the worlds beyond. The dimension these souls passed through became known as Davy Jones' Locker, and the Flying Dutchman could pass through it accompanied by the green flash. Because of that love, Davy Jones agreed to set foot on dry land once every ten years. But when Davy Jones came ashore, on the first day after his ten year duty, he was forsaken by Calypso, who was nowhere to be found. Heartbroken and bitter, Jones refused to continue with the duty.
- "And a heart. I learned that if you stab the heart, yours must take its place. And you will sail the seas for eternity. The Dutchman must have a captain."
- ―Weatherby Swann
So, when the First Brethren Court convened a great Conclave, Davy Jones allied himself with them to tear the rule of the seas away from Calypso. With his help, the Brethren tricked the goddess and bound her into human form. After this betrayal, he carved out his heart, thereby leaving a geis cast upon it and the Dutchman: whoever stabs Jones' heart, theirs must take its place and captain the Dutchman, as the ship must have a captain. As a result, the Dutchman itself became cursed, just as Jones was. Its crew slowly transformed into amalgamations of sea creatures, and the ship itself became crusted with barnacles, sea life, and the bodies of those crew members who stayed in her service too long. To keep his fate intact, Davy Jones locked his heart in a chest on Isla Cruces, hiding it from all who would use it against him.
An eternity of service
Having rejected his duty, Davy Jones set himself up as the lord of the sea, toying with the fates of those souls he had once sworn to save. Jones commonly offered dying men a choice: either embrace death or postpone the judgment and serve for one hundred years aboard the Flying Dutchman. However, because of a gambling game referred to as Liar's Dice, in which sailors wagered their years of service, some remained onboard far longer. In fact, some had their very souls lost to Jones forever, literally becoming part of the ship itself, losing all humanity. He and his crew even began to exhibit physical signs of their dehumanization, acquiring grotesque features that resembled those of various sea creatures. Often Jones spent his time in his enormous cabin, endlessly playing a haunting tune on his massive coral-encrusted pipe organ. Jones would use the tentacles of his beard to play for hours, tortured by a painting of the sea and a small statue of his lost love Calypso set just above the keyboard.
Hunting Jack Sparrow
Davy Jones would sail the seas for many years (the only official record is that he sailed the Dutchman for the first three Brethren Court meetings) and eventually went to call in a debt owed by Jack Sparrow. Jones sent crewman Bootstrap Bill Turner to brand Jack with the Black Spot so the Kraken could find and destroy Jack should he attempt to flee from Jones. Jack Sparrow tracked down the Dutchman using Tia Dalma's crab claws and tricked Will Turner into believing a ship recently destroyed by the Kraken was the ship they were after, and that all he need do was sneak on board and retrieve the key. Things did not go according to plan however as the real Flying Dutchman burst from the ocean depths and took Turner prisoner. However, because Turner escaped, Davy Jones had the Dutchman search for him, which led him to summon the Kraken to destroy the Edinburgh Trader.
Later, when Jones tracked Jack to the Isla Cruces in the fight for the Dead Man's Chest, the Dutchman gave chase after the Black Pearl when Sparrow recovered Jones' heart. Though the Dutchman was fabled to be the fastest ship in the sea, the Pearl technically had an advantage given the winds there, and began to outdistance the Dutchman. Though Jones tried to slow the Pearl with the Chase Guns, the Pearl got out of range, forcing Jones to summon the Kraken to finish the job.
In Beckett's hands
Control of the sea
After watching the Kraken drag the Black Pearl to the depths, Jones became suspicious of how easy it was to defeat Jack Sparrow, and suspected treachery on his part. With mounting concern, he went to check on his heart and discovered only an empty chest. Enraged, Jones thought of this to be of Jack Sparrow's doing and screamed in anguish instilling fear and pain in his crew. Despite the fact that Sparrow was supposedly dead, Jones felt a summons from his heart and had the Dutchman set sail for the source of the summons, Port Royal. Upon arriving, he found the very man who had complete control of Jones' heart, Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company.
Leading the Armada
When Cutler Beckett gained control of Davy Jones's heart, he allowed Jones and his crew the freedom they once had, just as long as they followed any of his orders, like disposing off the Kraken. And so Beckett was able to use the Flying Dutchman to exterminate pirates from the seas. However, after Jones led a massacre of pirate ships, with no survivors, Beckett confronted Jones about the situation aboard the Dutchman, saying that they needed prisoners to interrogate. In order to ensure Jones' loyalty, Beckett had EITC soldiers and Blue Coats, under the command of Admiral James Norrington, stationed aboard the Dutchman to guard the Dead Man's Chest. To ensure his control over the ship, Beckett also asked Jones to have the Dutchman stay above water or submerge only briefly as long his men were onboard.
The Dutchman would later be ordered to pursue and capture the Empress, Captain Sao Feng's vessel, killing Feng in the process, and the crew, including Elizabeth Swann, were thrown into the brig by Norrington. However, the crew later escaped aided by Norrington who was killed by Bootstrap Bill Turner during the escape. With the ship's commander death a riot broke out on the ship with Jones' men desperately trying to retake control of the chest. When they arrived in the captain's cabin however, they found Ian Mercer still had the key to the chest. With the Empress fleeing to Shipwreck Island the Flying Dutchman, at the head of Beckett's armada, followed.
Showdown with the Black Pearl
- "We've an armada against us, and with the Dutchman there's no chance."
- ―Joshamee Gibbs
During the final conflict between the Pirate Lords and the East India Trading Company, the Flying Dutchman was sent out alone to perform a battle with the Black Pearl in combat around Calypso's maelstrom. The Dutchman initially had the advantage of chase guns, which wreaked havoc on the Pearl as it grew closer. However, given the nature of the maelstrom, Hector Barbossa steered the Pearl further into the waters, and the two ships began to exchange broadsides. Later, as the ships grew even closer together, the crews began to board, leading to much mayhem and fighting. An interesting point is that though the cannons of the Dutchman and Pearl were firing for most of the time, it was hardly enough to sink either ship. As the fighting intensified, the captains of the respective ships engaged in single combat aboard the Flying Dutchman while the ship's crew fought around.
Three of the Pearl's leaders, Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner all did battle with Davy Jones, but none of them could overcome the king of the sea. Towards the end of this conflict, the Dutchman's mast collided with the Pearl, jarring the ships, temporarily unnerving boarders. Hector Barbossa who was controlling the Pearl, was busy fighting and so could not uncouple them. Meanwhile on deck, Jones stabbed William Turner, killing him. However, moments later, Jack Sparrow helped Will stab the heart of Jones by moving Turner's hand as it clutched his sword. In this way, Jones was killed and Turner would be brought to life as the new captain of the Flying Dutchman. Forgetting all about the battle, the crew of the Flying Dutchman gathered around Will to carve out his heart, while the Dutchman, without someone at the wheel sunk into the depths when Hector Barbossa, who had defeated everyone at the helm, dislodged the locked masts.
A new captain
The end of Lord Beckett
As the Black Pearl now turned to face the HMS Endeavour, flagship of the East India Trading Company, prepared to fight to the death for the cause of piracy, the Dutchman suddenly rose back out of the depths. There was tension at first, as it was unclear whether the Dutchman had really changed hands. Fortunately though, Will was now the new captain, and its crew were reverted back to their true forms: the ship lost the sea life and gruesome humanoid effigies that adorned its hull, revealing gold and bronze beneath. Turner's first act as captain was to join the Black Pearl in carrying out a devastating dual broadside against the HMS Endeavour. The Endeavour was destroyed, perhaps partly due to Beckett's shock at seeing the Dutchman change sides, and Cutler Beckett's armada was routed.
Another ten years at sea
Because Will Turner became the new captain, he would now serve aboard the Flying Dutchman for all eternity, bound to ferry the souls of drowned seamen into the afterlife, as Jones had before him. After Will's one day ashore with Elizabeth, the Dutchman disappeared into the green flash in order to complete its duty. After ten years of service, Will Turner returned so he could come ashore for one day to be with his awaiting wife and child.
A voyage interrupted
About a decade after the War Against Piracy, a young Henry Turner sought out to break his father's curse that bound him to the Dutchman. He researched and found that the mystical Trident of Poseidon could break all curses on the sea, even Will's. As a result, Henry left his home one night and rowed out to sea to where he calculated the Dutchman would next surface. He tied rocks to his feet to act as anchors to take him to the sea floor. At that moment, the Dutchman surfaced and Henry was on board the ship where he encountered his father. He told Will that the Trident could break his curse. Will however responded saying that the Trident can't possibly be found by anyone. He told Henry to leave the sea and never come back. Just then, the Dutchman began to sink beneath the waves, where Will and Henry looked at each other one last time.
The end of the curse
- "The Dutchman! My father's ship!"
- ―Henry Turner
Almost a decade after meeting his father on the Dutchman, Henry was able to find and break the Trident with the help of Jack Sparrow. As a result, Will's curse was broken and he was finally free of his duty aboard the Dutchman. The Dutchman surfaced near land and Will came ashore, reuniting with his family. The ship's further fate is unknown.
Design and appearance
When mariners awake screaming, it's because they have dreamed of a ghostly ship and its terrifying barnacled crew. In sailors' legends the Flying Dutchman rises from the ocean depths, its rigging draped in seaweed and its sails glowing like fire. It speeds across the flat water when all other ships are becalmed. Its very beams sigh with human voices, weighed down with a century of weary toil. When sailors fall overboard and are doomed to drown they soon realize that the Dutchman is not just a myth, the ship appears before their eyes and they are swiftly plucked from the jaws of death and given the option to serve before the mast of Davy Jones' ship. The Dutchman looked so terrifying that the French Pirate Lord Chevalle called it "Le monster des profondeures", the monster from the deep.
- "That ain't a natural ship. It can sail direct against the wind, into a hurricane and not lose speed. That's how she takes her prey."
- ―Joshamee Gibbs
The Flying Dutchman weighed 420 tons and was 170 feet long, stern to bow. It was armed with forty-six cannons, not including two triple-barreled chase guns. The Dutchman was considered to be the fastest ship both on and beneath the sea. However, it was unable to maintain pursuit of the Black Pearl, which had an edge with a following wind, while the Dutchman was said to be faster with a headwind.
In such cases, the crew called upon the Dutchman's most potent and powerful weapon to destroy their enemies. The ship was fitted with a giant Kraken Hammer, used to summon the Kraken from the ocean depths. The Dutchman was the only vessel immune to the Kraken's destructive rage.
The Dutchman's rigging consisted of three masts: the fore, the mizzen, and the main. The Dutchman was square rigged on both the foremast and the mainmast, but the mizzenmast carried one lateen sail and one topsail. Like all 17th century galleons, the Dutchman originally had a bowsprit with the spritsail topmast on its end. The bowsprit carried two square spritsails, but after it was broken, the new bowsprit was placed almost exactly above the Dutchman's terrifying figurehead. Two staysails could be unfurled on the stays connecting the foremast and this new bowsprit.
Due to her own nature of neutral party in the ocean, the Dutchman does not sail any kind of flag.
The Flying Dutchman's stern, a sight witnessed by few human sailors, was covered with lamps and windows arranged in the pattern of a fanged mouth. The deck above was intertwined with the skeletons of ferocious sea beasts. A live sea serpent was also attached to the side of the boat, which Jones would send out to collect souls. At some point during Turner's captaincy the ship's name plate was put on the lower stern gallery.
The hull of the Flying Dutchman appears to be constructed entirely from driftwood, with every surface encrusted with barnacles and other aquatic flora and fauna from the sea bed. After the curse on the ship was broken, the driftwood fell away revealing that underneath it was actually made of gold and bronze and presumably got its barnacled appearence due to the curse that had turned the crew into sea creatures which was broken when Will Turner became the new captain.
The Flying Dutchman's cannons emerged from ports on either side of the ship. The ports were carved into the hull and took the forms of sea demons with wide gaping mouths, when the curse on the ship was broken the cannon ports appear to be carvings of animal heads like lions and fish made of gold or bronze.
The Dutchman's main armament consists of twenty 36-pound cannons and eighteen 24-pound cannons, supplemented by 3-pounders on the quarterdeck and forecastle, making her capable of delivering a 588 lb. broadside. This overwhelmingly heavy broadside proves on multiple occasions to be a destructive, if not fatal, blow to any ship that is at range of this powerful ship. It also carries two large triple rotating bow chasers.
The prow of the ship resembled a fanged mouth, and featured a carved figurehead resembling the Grim Reaper and his scythe, while the un-corrupted prow looked like a head of a crocodile\barracuda with wooden spikes resembling razor-sharp teeth and no figurehead.
In addition, the Dutchman's sails were white, but raggedy, and covered with seaweed and grime, with multiple holes, perhaps from the many trips into the ocean's depths, but when the curse was broken the sails kept their damaged appearance though they lost the seaweed and grime covering them.
Overall the Dutchman carries 46 cannons, considering her primary weapons were 24-pounders and 36-pounders, the Dutchman was perhaps one of the most powerful ships in the Caribbean.
Behind the scenes
- "I always wonder why they call it the Flying Dutchman. I don't get it."
- ―Jack Sparrow
- For filming Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, a ship prop of the Flying Dutchman was built by production designer Rick Heinrichs and his team. Another version of the Dutchman, mounted on a gimbal, was built for filming the maelstrom battle in At World's End.
- The look of the Flying Dutchman was partially inspired by old Dutch "fluyts"—17th-century vessels which resembled galleons—and more specifically, the Vasa, a massive Swedish warship which sank in Stockholm's harbor upon its maiden voyage in 1628 (the ship was salvaged in 1961 and housed in a special museum in the Swedish capital). With its high, heavily ornamented stern, the ship provided a rich foundation for Rick Heinrichs' wilder and more fantastical designs.
- The Flying Dutchman is based off of the famous maritime ghost ship of the same name which, according to legend, is doomed to sail the seas for all eternity because its captain foolishly cursed God after sailing into a horrible storm off of the Cape of Good Hope, vowing to round that cape even if it took him till Judgement Day.
- The final fate of the Flying Dutchman under Will Turner after At World's End was controversial. Screenwriter Terry Rossio stated that Will could be freed of the Dutchman upon the end of his ten year service as captain if Elizabeth remained faithful to him, which she did. However, Rossio's explanation was never mentioned in any official Pirates of the Caribbean material. A leaflet inside the At World's End DVD said that he was bound to the Dutchman for all eternity. The fifth film in the series Dead Men Tell No Tales confirmed that Will was bound to the Dutchman forever. In regards to his thoughts concerning Will's fate, Rossio was not involved in the decision to retcon his explanation.
- After filming for Dead Man's Chest and At World's End was completed, the Flying Dutchman ship prop was put on display at Castaway Cay. As of November 2010, the Dutchman was dismantled and no longer on display.
- In the 2012 attraction, The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, the Flying Dutchman appears under Davy Jones, in which Jack Sparrow damages the vessel to where it blows up and sinks.
- While filming Dead Man's Chest, Johnny Depp referred to the Dutchman as the "Davy Jones Crocodile Machine" after forgetting its actual name.
- The Flying Dutchman was first mentioned in the 2003 video game Pirates of the Caribbean. One of the first dialogues was "Not even the Flying Dutchman would have survived that storm!"
- The Dutchman appears in the 2011 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides mobile game wherein the players can see it before they main menu pops-up.
- The grim reaper figurehead was lost after the Maelstrom battle, but was present once again when Henry boarded the ship; it disappeared when the curse was lifted.
- In the Disney Infinity game series, the Flying Dutchman flies a pirate Jolly Roger, despite not being technically a pirate ship, nor having a flag in the movies.
- Pirates of the Caribbean (game) (First mentioned)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Call of the Kraken
- Jack Sparrow: The Coming Storm (Mentioned only)
- Jack Sparrow: City of Gold
- Jack Sparrow: The Timekeeper
- The Price of Freedom (Mentioned only)
- Legends of the Brethren Court: The Caribbean (Mentioned only)
- Legends of the Brethren Court: Wild Waters (Mentioned only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean Online (Mentioned only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (First appearance)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Tides of War
- The Brightest Star in the North: The Adventures of Carina Smyth
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
- The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game
- Disney Infinity
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Master of the Seas Strategy Game
- Kingdom Hearts III
- Sea of Thieves: A Pirate's Life
- Pirates of the Caribbean (film series)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Visual Guide
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide
Notes and references
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- "What's Next and What's New" for Disney Meetings
- IGN: Pirates 2 Exclusive: Davy's Sinister Ship
- POTC2 Presskit
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (video game)
- 2020 Interview with Terry Rossio
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, p.64-65 "The Flying Dutchman"
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (junior novelization), p. 150
- The Journey of Will Turner!
- Pirates Secrets Revealed: Top questions moviegoers had about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest DVD "Bloopers of the Caribbean"
|East India Trading Company ships in Pirates of the Caribbean|
|Other ships in Pirates of the Caribbean|