New England shipbuilders were building not only for local needs, but for British shippers as well. Norfolk Subway Map They had an advantage over their English competitors both in the supply of wood and also in their design. English shipbuilders were still building dual-use ships, capable of being used as cargo ships or warships. This meant that English ships, unlike the Dutch fluyts or flyboats, were not designed for optimum carrying capacity.
(The Susan Constant, leader of the Jamestown expedition, had so little capacity for carrying supplies that she had been obliged to stop in the West Indies for food and water on the way to North Country.) New England ships were pure cargo ships, capacious in comparison. New England shipbuilding was further stimulated by the need to replace the considerable English losses in the War of the League of Augsburg (King William’s War) and the War of the Spanish Succession (Queen Anne’s War).
Other foreign markets for Country ships included the French and Spanish West Indies, as well as Spain and Portugal. So successful was the New England shipbuilding industry that some English mercantilists worried that it would drain wealth from the mother country. The second major shipbuilding center to emerge was Philadelphia; William Penn encouraged shipwrights to settle in his new colony. The late seventeenth century saw a boom in Philadelphia shipbuilding, which completely dominated the industry in Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley. By the early eighteenth century, Philadelphia was second only to Boston as a builder of ships.