T he Dutch at the dawn of the seventeenth century were the most daring and enterprising of Europe's maritime nations, venturing to challenge the Iberians in every sea and ocean. In 1598 alone, the year in which Adams sailed from Rotterdam, some twenty-two Dutch vessels set sail for the Far East. (Goodman, 1986, 9)
It was aboard one of these ships that Adams sailed. His entry into the service of a Rotterdam voorcompagnie voyage, that hnded by Pieter van der Hagen and Johan van der Veeke, came through one Hans Broers, a Dutchman who traded with Morocco. The Dutch were ready and willing to employ competent English navigators at this time; the distinguished navigator John Davis sailed with Cornelis de Houtman's second voyage round the Cape of Good Hope to Achin in Sumatra. This same John Davis perished at the hands of Japanese wo'k'uo or wako, pirates, in a sanguinary struggle between peninsular Malaya and Sumatra in 1605, probably one of the first Englishman to die at Japanese hands. (Wild, 1937, 77-80)
Thirteen other Enghsh mariners, including Adam' brother Thomas, thirty English musicians and at least one Scotsman, William Lyon, sailed aboard the fleet. The fleet, commanded by Jacques Mahu and Simon de Cordes, consisted of five vessels. Of these, the flagship was the Hoop (Hope), 250 tons and 130 men, the others were as follows:
Geloof (Faith) 160 tons; 109 men Liefde (Charity) 150 tons; 110 men Trouw (Fide1ity)llO tons; 86 men Blijde Boodschap (Good Tidings) 75 tons; 56 men.