Flying Dutchman (Pirates of the Caribbean)

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Flying Dutchman
Pirates of the Caribbean ship
CaptainDavy Jones
Will Turner (temporarily for 19 years)
TypeRace-Built Galleon
Arms50 cannons:
  • Main Deck: 18 cannons
  • Gundeck: 20 cannons
  • Quarterdeck: 4 cannons
  • Forecastle: 4 cannons
  • Sterncastle: 2 swivel cannons
  • Bow: 2 triple-barreled bow chasers
  • Kraken (killed by Davy Jones on Lord Cutler Beckett's orders)
Appearance(s)Dead Man's Chest
At World's End
Dead Men Tell No Tales

The Flying Dutchman, or simply referred to as the Dutchman, is a fictional ship in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean. The ship made its first appearance in Dead Man's Chest under the command of the fictional captain, Davy Jones. The story and attributes of the ship were inspired by the actual Flying Dutchman of nautical lore.


As explained in the movie, the character of Davy Jones was given the Flying Dutchman by Calypso, his lover, to ferry souls lost at sea to the afterlife.[1] When she neglected to meet him after his first ten years of duty, he was both heartbroken and enraged.[2] He abandoned his duties and chose to wander the seas, doing as he pleased. This violation of his duty placed a curse on Jones and his crew, slowly transforming them into monsters. Apparently, the Dutchman is also believed to be nautical lore in the Pirates universe, as character James Norrington mockingly remarks, "[Davy Jones]...captain of the Flying Dutchman?." The fictional Dutchman is also known as a fearful ship to those who are superstitious, and able to destroy any vessel (using the Kraken).


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest[edit]

In Dead Man's Chest, the Dutchman makes its first appearance when it rises from the sea to claim its victims' souls following a Kraken attack (instigated by Davy Jones). The Dutchman, able to sail on the sea and underwater, emits terror and potency to those unfortunate enough to cross its path. Davy Jones captures from the ship wreckage and demands that Jack Sparrow settle his overdue debt. Sparrow bargains for his life, and Jones finally agrees to accept 100 souls in exchange for Sparrow's, keeping Turner as "a good faith payment".

Will is reunited with his father, "Bootstrap Bill" Turner, who is an indentured sailor aboard the Flying Dutchman. Shipboard life is harsh, and the crew is often whipped by the cruel boatswain, Jimmy Legs. Will is also flogged, although it is his father who delivers the lash to spare his son from the boatswain's sadistic hand. With his father's help, Will escapes the Dutchman, but when the ship he reaches is attacked by the Kraken, he sneaks back aboard as a stowaway, making his way to Isla Cruces where Jones' heart is buried in the Dead Man's Chest. Will finds Elizabeth and Sparrow on Isla Cruces. The three escape the island on the Black Pearl, pursued by the Dutchman (who loses the Pearl in less than a minute). Jones unleashes the Kraken, which attacks the Pearl and drags Sparrow to Davy Jones' Locker.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End[edit]

In At World's End, Captain Davy Jones now serves Lord Cutler Beckett, who possesses Jones' heart and forcibly controls him and the Flying Dutchman, which is first seen rising from the sea, mercilessly destroying pirate ships with its powerful cannons. This irritates Lord Beckett who wants survivors to interrogate. So to ensure Jones does as he is ordered to, Beckett places Admiral James Norrington and a squad of East India Trading company marines and the Dead Man's chest placed on board as well to remind Jones he is under their control. The Dutchman accompanies Beckett's flagship, Endeavour in its mission to eradicate piracy. When the Dutchman attacks Sao Feng's ship, the Empress, it takes its crew captive (Elizabeth Swan captain by the dying Sao Feng). Elizabeth and her crew escape the Dutchman with Admiral Norrington's help, although he is killed by a deranged Bootstrap Bill Turner. Jones and his crew attempt a mutiny against the East India Trading Company marines stationed on board, but Mr. Mercer, Beckett's henchman, proclaims the ship is under his command, temporarily subduing the uprising.

The Dutchman leads the East India Trading Company armada in battle against the Brethren Court. The Dutchman and the Black Pearl engage in battle while entering a monstrous maelstrom (caused by Calypso, Jones' lover). Jones is killed when, aided by Sparrow, the mortally wounded Will Turner stabs Jones' heart, and Jones falls off board into the maelstrom. The Dutchman is also sucked into the maelstrom as Swann and Sparrow escape. The Dutchman 's crew carve out the now-dead Will Turner's heart (as whoever kills the Dutchman's captain must replace him) and place it in the Dead Man's Chest. The Dutchman re-emerges from the maelstrom with Captain Will Turner at the helm. Joining forces with the Pearl, the two ships face off against the Endeavour. Stunned by this unexpected alliance, Beckett is unable to respond, and his crew abandons ship just as the Endeavour is being destroyed and Beckett is killed.

The Dutchman 's crew revert to human form and the ship reverts to its original form as well, and Will and Elizabeth meet on an island and consummate their marriage. Will departs at sunset to fulfill his destiny as the Dutchman's captain, leaving his disembodied heart in Elizabeth's care. Will frees Bootstrap Bill from his servitude, but Bootstrap decides to remain with his son as part of his new crew. Following the end credits: ten years later, the Dutchman reappears upon the horizon amid a green flash as Elizabeth and her son await its arrival. And as sun sets, he is seen with the ship.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales[edit]

In Dead Men Tell No Tales, the Dutchman returns when a young Henry Turner boards it underwater by weighing himself down with rocks. The ship surfaces and Will confronts his son, who reveals his plan to retrieve the Trident of Poseidon, which can break the curse binding him to the Dutchman. Will dismisses Henry's idea and tells his son to move on and not follow in his footsteps. Nine years later, Henry destroys the Trident, which breaks all curses and frees Will from the Dutchman. Will comes ashore and reunites with Henry and Elizabeth, permanently. However, a post-credits scene reveals that the Dutchman's original captain, Davy Jones, lives again.[3]


Characteristics and armament[edit]

The look of the fictional ship was inspired by the seventeenth century Dutch "fluyt" vessels and the Vasa, a real-life Swedish warship which sank in 1628.[4] However, the ship itself resembles a sailfish. The Flying Dutchman has five staysails making it easier to sail against the wind than running before the wind. The ship is more organic plant matter than timber and sail, heavily encrusted with marine life that reflects its strong ties to the sea. This may be the result of the fictitious Dutchman often being submerged. Also, it is apparently a result of the curse that turned the crew into monsters as when broken with Davy Jones' death, the ship itself loses all of the marine life attached to it and reverts to its original form like its crew does.

The fictional Flying Dutchman is very heavily armed with port and starboard guns. It carries 46 broadside guns, 23 on each side; 18 twenty-four pound cannons are located on the main deck, 20 thirty-six pounders on the gun deck, and 8 three-pounders on the upper deck: 4 on the quarter-deck and 4 on the forecastle.[5][6][7] The gunports on the gun deck are in the shape of demon faces, each one with a unique facial expression, with the ports appearing at the mouths. Its full broadside contains 23 cannonballs, called shot, and weighs 588 lbs. (266.712 kg). On the bow however, she mounts a pair of bow chasers, each in the form of a triple-barreled demi-culverin, giving her an incredible range during a chase. Both triple guns fire nine-pound cannonballs. Each separate barrel fires individually, but the trio rotates to present a fresh barrel to fire again in the style of a Gatling gun. The empty barrel can then be reloaded for its next turn. This enables the Flying Dutchman to continually fire at ships it is pursuing. When not in use, the bow chasers are concealed behind two doors carved in the shape of an angry demon's maw.

Her low freeboard allows for such heavy cannons because they're lower to the waterline. The crew also keep the lower gun ports closed unless going on the attack as would be found with most armed vessels of the 17th and 18th centuries. Being that the ship is called the flying "Dutchman," and based on historical ships, it can be presumed that her origin lies with the Dutch Republic of the late 16th to early 17th century. This would make sense since, at the time, the Dutch possessed the fastest and strongest warships in the world, rivaled only by English warships. Dutch warships were also relatively small to medium-sized and shallow on the draft to defend the Netherlands' shallow coastal waters. Heavily armed, their galleons frequently carried both 24- and 36-pounder cannons to be utilized in their favored tactic of close quarters ship combat (typically within pistol shot range) that focused on shattering the hulls of their enemies. This is clearly shown to be the preferred tactic of the Dutchman's crew in At World's End as they attack the pirate fleet where they employ rapid surprise attacks featuring powerful broadsides in close range to sink the opposing ships. It has been noted in the Complete Visual Guide that the ship was a gift by Calypso, which Davy Jones had captained for a century prior to the events of the films which are set around 1740. This would place the Flying Dutchman right in the prime of the Dutch Republic's high watermark for their global naval supremacy - clear evidence for her highly powerful armament.

In addition to her overwhelming firepower, the Flying Dutchman also has the Kraken Hammer, a massive hammer in the form of a capstan to summon the mighty Kraken. The Kraken can also be summoned by the Black Spot. Any member of Davy Jones' crew can deliver the mark to a victim, but only Jones can remove it.

The Flying Dutchman is supposedly the "fastest ship" in the Caribbean, however the only ship that can surpass the Dutchman for speed is the Black Pearl.

Life aboard[edit]

Similarly, because Jones abandoned his soul-ferrying duty, he and the crew bear a curse that gradually mutates them into anthropomorphic amalgamations of Sea creatures. In the Dead Man's Chest DVD commentary, writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio mention that the crew actually become less and less human until they are literally absorbed into the Flying Dutchman (Davy Jones knows this, but fails to inform new recruits). One character, Wyvern, is so transformed that he is now integrated into the ship's hull. The crew has little or no human flesh remaining on them, although newer members, like Bootstrap Bill, are only partially encrusted with sea life.

Nearly all the crew members' time in servitude is spent toiling on board the ship. For amusement, the crew play a game called Liar's Dice, in which they gamble years of service. In one scene of Dead Man's Chest, the crew works on well into the night, and even in the rain, while Davy Jones plays on with his pipe organ. When Will is wrongly blamed for causing a work disruption, the boatswain proclaims that he is to be punished with a whip. In a later scene, the crew is excited when Jones commands the ship to submerge, and others continue on their duties unhampered. However, it is likely that, as Will is now captain, things have changed on board the ship, and after he becomes captain, the crew are all returned to human form.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Verbinski, Gore (Director) (19 May 2017). Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Chapter 8.
  2. ^ Verbinski, Gore (Director) (19 May 2017). Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Chapter 17.
  3. ^ Rønning, Joachim; Sandberg, Espen (Directors) (May 11, 2017). Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Motion picture). Shanghai: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
  4. ^ Head, Steve (14 July 2006). "Pirates 2 Exclusive: Davy's Sinister Ship". IGN. Ziff Davis, LLC. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Flying Dutchman". Bahamas Vacation Guide. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Flying Dutchman". Bahamas Vacation Guide. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Flying Dutchman". Bahamas Vacation Guide. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2018.