The Connecticut River Museum hosts the Onrust, a re-creation of the vessel Adriaen Block built in 1614. Built over several years in upstate New York using traditional plans and means, the Onrust is a wholly unique ship that serves to educate and entertain visitors curious about the age of exploration, the fur trade, and our early colonial history.
The Onrust (Dutch for “unrest” or “restless” ) was a Dutch Ship built by captain and explorer Adriaen Block and the crew of his ship, the Tyger, which had been destroyed by fire during the winter of 1613 in New York Bay. Block was immortalized as namesake of the small island in Long Island Sound that is perennially popular with modern visitors to these waters. His voyage was used as the basis for the Dutch claim to the territory of New Netherland, an area that included parts of what are now the states of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Onrust’s construction took place near Manhattan during the winter of 1614. She was about 45 feet long, 12 feet in beam and had a load capacity of 16 tons. The ship was America’s first yacht.
Onrust was launched into upper New York Bay in April of 1614. She explored the New York coast and rivers, and sailed through the treacherous passage called ‘Hellegat’ (Dutch for ‘Hell’s hole’, later anglicized to Hell Gate) in the East River. She then went on to explore the harbors of Long Island and Connecticut, “discovering” the Housatonic and Thames Rivers. She sailed up the Connecticut River past the future site of Hartford. The Onrust continued on to Narragansett and Buzzards Bays, and from there to Cape Cod.
The last historical account of the Onrust describes her 1616 expedition to explore the Delaware River under the command of Captain Cornelius Hendrickson.