Available to: Flanders
Trained at: Guild Hall
Cost: 80 food, 35 florins
Armor/Pierce Armor: 1/2
Special: +6 vs. archers, +5 vs. cavalry, +3 vs. ships and lancers.
Upgrades to: Witte Caproen
Upgrade century: 15th
Upgrade costs: 1200 Food, 550 Florins
Attack: Forging, Iron Casting, Blast Furnace
Attack, hit points: Close Order Drill
Armour: Scale Armour. Mail Armour, Plate Armour
Training time: Indenture, Nationalism (Flemish Unique Technology)
As much as it may be tempting to let them replace the pikemen, this is definitely not a sound idea. For one, they lack the range, and two, they lack the bonuses. They work better in the militia role.
The strength of the Scaerwetter is twofold: 1) its strength against archers, which will prove very handy against the archer civs, and 2) its production building. The Scaerwetter is produced at the Guild Hall, freeing up Levy Quarters to pump those pikemen. The Scaerwetter also has a small anticavalry bonus, and it's overall a solid unit. That said, the Witte Caprone they upgrade to will be even more powerful.
The term "Scaerwetter" was used both for men tasked to keep the peace (comparable to police officers) in an urban environment and also has a military connotation.
The power of Flanders always lay with its powerful cities, centres of trade and the guilds. These guilds quickly grew rich enough to equip powerful citizen armies. Confident in their own strength, these infantry marched fearlessly into battle and even defeated knightly armies on occassion. The Flemish guildsmen were famous for fighting with the goedendag, a combination of a club and a spear, which was an effective weapon to fight off cavalry and probably to be used as a club against foot soldiers.