The Dutch Flute (or fluyt) was a prize in the early 17th Century. Primarily a prize for the shipping world, the Flute was an impressive 300-ton, 80-foot ship that proved inexpensive to build as well as man. The Flute needed only a dozen seamen. With a flat bottom, broad beams, and a round stern, this ship soon became the favoured model of a cargo ship. A large part of the popularity of the Flute for commerce was her incredible cargo capacity; about 150% that of similar ships. In this, they soon became a common prey for savvy pirates. These factors combined to sharply lower the cost of transportation for Dutch merchants, giving them a major competitive advantage. The fluyt was a significant factor in the 17th-century rise of the Dutch seaborne empire. In 1670 the Dutch merchant marine totalled 568,000 tons of shipping—about half the European total.