Tuesday, September 23, 2008


PIRACY is crimes of robbery committed on the high seas by the Captain and crew. Life often became boring for pirates after long days and nights at sea as they searched for ships to prey upon and plunder. Fighting was common. Pirates lived by a strict code and divided the pillaged loot.Talk like a
PIRATE DAY is celebrated in September.
Auast, me hearties! It’s a pirates life for me and me rascals, scoundrels and
knaves. Yo ho, drink up me ‘earties.
Avast ye - stop and check this outAll hand hoay! - all hands on deckBlimey! - exhortation of surprise.
Heave Ho - give it some muscle and push itHornswaggle - cheat out of money or belongings.
Old Salt - an experienced sailor
Savvy? - do you understand and agree?
Scuttle - to sink a shipSeadog - old pirate or sailor
Quarter Master is about as valuable as a captain and usually took over a captured ship until it was disposed.Boatswain inspected the ship, sails and riggings.
Carpenter repaired leaks.
Mates took care of the ships sales, ropes, rigging and mooring of the ship.
Riggers released the rigging and furl the sails.
Swabbies mopped the deck and kept it clean.
Sailing Master handled the navigation and direction of the course the ship takes.
A gentleman pirate of the early 18th century.Why would an Englishman born into wealth in Barbados, educated, married and a respected plantation owner turn to piracy? Stede Bonnet bought a ship, named it the Revenge and rigged it with 10 guns. He and his paid crew set sail for the American east coast plundering ships. He met up with Edward Teach, Blackbeard, and they sailed together capturing merchant ships along the east coast. North Carolina Governor, Charles Eden offered Bonnet clemency from the King of England if he would become a privateer against Spanish ships. Bonnet changed his name to an alias, Captain Thomas, and his ship name to Royal James. He was tempted to continue his piracy plundering ways in July and was captured and hung along with many of his men in November 1718.
KNOT terminology
Hitch, attach a rope to an object.
Stopper knot keeps the rope from slipping through a hole.
Butterfly knot is used when you need a single loop.
Triple Crown knot is a double loop.
A knot is set by tightening.
Join two ropes with a full carrick bend.
Anchor is to bend and attach rope to a ring.
Schooner - a fast ship with a shallow draft, capable of up to 11 knots, could carry up to 75 crew and mounted 8 cannon and 4 swivel guns.
Sloop - another fast ship, capable of up to 11 knots, could carry up to 75 crew and mounted 14 cannon.
Brig - a two masted ship, square rigged on both masts, in the 18th century similar t as a Brigantine.
Brigantine - the choice of many pirate crews, able to mount 10 cannons.
Pictures from the past show captains wearing a tricorn hat, long coat with big cuffs, and knee breeches with buckle shoes. In port a gentleman captain might wear more colorful attire, brocades and damask.
18th century trousers were loose fitting above the ankle.
The common sailor would have worn a shorter coat called a fearnought and linen breeches or trousers. To be practical they wore a scarf on the head, a small knitted cap, or a small brimmed hat. At sea they went barefooted to be seaworthy on deck and to get a grip climbing ropes. Shoes were simple leather, some laced instead of with a buckle. Neck cloth and kerchiefs were fashionable for seamen.
"Blimey! Don't forget me gold earring."
A colorful sash around the waist might get in the way of duties of seaman.
Heave ho! What port wench wouldn't find pleasure in untying a sash from around a capn's waist?
Pirates maintained their own weaponry. They brought on board with them swords, knives, muskets, flintlock pistols. Axes and tools used in maintenance of the ship were a versatile weapon. The ships belaying pins kept in pin rails holes could be easily grabbed for defense during an attack. Small hand held round cast iron grenades filled with explosive powder could be set off with a fuse and thrown at the enemy.
Pirates roamed the treacherous seas to find wealth from ships they overtook. They faced penalty of death if caught. Privateers in the 16th to 19th centuries, were commissioned with Letter of Marque from a country’s government to seize and rob enemy merchant ships. Many pirates were given clemency to come to the aid of a country as a privateer.

Connie Rachal

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