This is a ghost ship that sank long ago in the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Som say that the Captain, a Dutchman, couldn't see where he was going because of a storm and madly kept his course, thus calling on the wrath of God for his stupidity. Others say that he never noticed the dark clouds, and only when the look out scream did he realize he had driven his ship and crew into a powerful storm.
Either way, the ship rocked recklessly in the water as he kept his course. By the first story, his punishment was that he and his crew would sail for eternity until he admitted his folly. He is still stubborn to this day. However, the second story says that he vowed to "round the Cape even if I have to sail til doomsday!" He is still trying to save his ship.
If ever you are sailing in the Cape of Good Hope during a storm, and you see they Flying Dutchma and his ship in the eye of said storm, they say you will tragically die. Sometimes, those on the beach have seen the ghost ship, but nothing reportedly happened to them.
Since the 19th century, there have been numerous sightings reported, and several unreported before, during, and after that time. Even the crew of a German U-boat saw the Flying Dutchman durning WWI. The last recorded sighting was in 1942. That is not to say there haven't been other sightings, but people have started to use science to explain away the appearance and disappearance of a 17th Century ghost ship.
It has made appearances in movies, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, in books, and T.V., such as Spongebob Squarepants.