About the Half Moon (Halve Maen)

The Half Moon was a Dutch East India Company yacht, more properly known as Halve Maen. The ship was assigned to Henry Hudson by the Dutch East India Company for his contracted voyage in 1609 to find a passage to Cathay.halfmooncutaway.gif

"She was strangely old-fashioned in appearance, riding high in the water like the flat-bottomed boats the Dutch used on their insland waterway, the Zuider Zee. Her poop and fo'c'sle were higher than those of comparable English vessels, and her three masts looked perilously thin. Hudson's first reaction when he saw her was that she would be difficult to handle. 'I'm afraid' he complained ...'that she'll prove clumsy in foul weather." Noel B. Gerson, Passage to the West: The Great Voyages of Henry Hudson.


Length on Deck: 85 feet Length on Keel: 64.5 feet Height: 78 feet Beam: 17.3 feet Draft: 8.5 feet Crew: 15-20 Class: Yacht Displacement: 112 tons Storage: 80 tons Rigging: square and lateen sails
Original Construction: carvel-fitted planks Original Construction Date: 1608 Replica Construction Date: 1989 Masts: fore, main, mizzen Sail Area: 2,757 square feet Anchors: 4 Cannons: 2 starboard, 2 larboard, 2 stern chasers Flags: foremast, United Provinces; mainmast, United Provinces; Mizzenmast, City of Amsterdam; Jackstaff, VOC Amsterdam.

Historical Context

The Dutch in America.

Dutch involvement in the exploration of North America began almost accidentally in the spring of 1609, when the Lords Seventeen, the highest authority of the United East India Company (VOC), engaged the English navigator Henry Hudson to try to find a safe passage to the wealthy Spice Islands in the East. Read more...


The Third Voyage of Henry Hudson, from the Mariner's Museum. Click here to read a detailed account of Henry Hudson's voyage of exploration of the river which came to bear his name by British historian Ian Chadwick. In honor of Husdon's voyage, Scientific American published a special edition in 1909 on the 300th anniversary of the voyage.

Important People in the Life of the Ship

Henry Hudson voyage03_sm.jpg

Henry Hudson captained the Half Moon on her voyage of exploration in the new world.

Robert Juet

Robert Juet accompanied Henry Hudson on his voyage of exploration of the Hudson in 1609. Click here to read the journal he kept during the voyage.

Images of the Half Moon

300px-Half_Moon_in_Hudson.jpg The Half Moon in the Hudson River.

Click here to see more images of the Half Moon.

Read more about the Half Moon

Books in the OWHL collection:

* Charting the sea of darkness : the four voyages of Henry Hudson / Donald S. Johnson.

Additional Resources

  • The Albany Times Unions Newspaper maintains an interesting site on the Half Moon which features a photo tour, a puzzle, a quiz, additional views of the ship, a video of the Half Moon at Sail, a fact sheet, a cutaway view, and selections from Robert Juet's journal.
  • See a video clip of the Half Moon and a recreation of Hudson's arrival at Manhattan.
  • Manual describing the tour of the Half Moon prepared by the New Netherland Museum for use by docents of the Hudson River Maritime Museum.