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2004-01-01 22:00:54
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CHAPTER ONE: SHIPS


Brigantine - A two masted vessel, fully square rigged on the foremast, and a fore and aft rigged mainmast with square sails on the main topmast. Not to be confused with a Brigandine, which was a medieval coat of armour.

Brulot - (French) A fire ship.

Chebec - These small light galleys were used by the Barbary corsairs in the 17th century. They were typically small, shallow draughted and with a unique concave shape to the bows, lateen rigged and also propelled by oars they were very fast. due to the oars amidships all their cannon were concentrated at the bows and stern.

Cutter - A small one masted vessel usually propelled by oars, rigged with a fore and aft mainsail, foresail and jib. Often carried onboard a larger vessel as a lifeboat.

Droger - A West Indian trading vessel.
East Indiaman - A very large merchant ship owned by the British, French or Dutch East India companies. Used to carry the wealth of the Orient back to Europe, and hence they were a prime target for pirates operating out of Madagascar. They were built to carry a large number of cannon, up to fifty or more, but as cannons took up valuable cargo space they rarely carried half that number, and therein lay their vulnerability to pirates.

Fire ship - A vessel packed full of flammable material and gunpowder, set on fire and sailed towards an enemy fleet, once set on course the crew would leave by boat, or not, depending on how quick they were. Used by Henry Morgan against the Spanish during his raid on Maracaibo.

Flute - A three masted square rigged merchant vessel. The round sterned, broad beamed and flat bottomed, Dutch designed flutes, made their debut in the early 17th century. The flute was inexpensive to build, cheap to man (only 12-15 crew) and renowned for their cargo capacity, half again that of a similar sized ship with sleeker lines. Flutes ranged the world's sea lanes and became regular prey for pirates.

Galleon - A large Spanish warship. Three masted square rigged on the fore and main mast, and fore and aft rigged on the mizzen mast. Usually heavily armed, and usually stuffed to the gunwales with treasure "damn yer eyes!".

Galley - Originally a name applied to vessels propelled mainly by oars. In the early days of seafaring it was considered unsafe to cook on board a wooden ship because of the fire risk. As most large vessels carried a small rowing boat as a tender and lifeboat, most cooking was done on board this small "galley" to avoid risk to the larger vessel. Later when most ships had a cooking space on board, this area was also called the galley.

Guarda Costa - A Spanish warship employed by a Spanish colony to guard it from raids by buccaneers.
Guinea man - Another name for a slave ship, or the captain of a slave ship.

Man of War - a generic term for a warship, however it does not necessarily follow that an unarmed merchant vessel is a "Woman of Peace".

Pink - A merchant vessel with a relatively shallow draught and a very narrow stern, could be variously rigged as a sloop, a brig, or a ship.

Piragua - A native dug out canoe, made by South American Indians. Much used by the buccaneers in their raids on the Spanish Main.

Pirate - What is a pirate? Strip away the romance, the creaking ship on the moonlit tropical sea, the bold and bloody men storming the great galleon, the thunder of surf by the buried chests of gold. Strip away the names of near respectability, buccaneer, freebooter, corsair or privateer. A pirate is a thief, and usually a murderer as well. According to English law a pirate is one who breaks the law at sea, "one who commits those acts upon the high seas, which if committed on land, would have amounted to a felony there".

Pirates of Penzance - A bunch of pansies who spent more time singing, than robbing ships. Definitely not icons for pirate re-enactors.

Plate Fleet - To capture the plate fleet, or even just one ship of it was the dream of every buccaneer captain. Every year the Spanish would send the entire years production of gold and silver from the South American mines back to Spain. For it's protection they would send it in a vast convoy, escorted by heavily armed galleons. This convoy was known as the plate fleet.

Schooner - A two masted vessel, fore and aft rigged on both masts, some had square topsails on the foremast. or on both topmasts. Although now regarded as the typical pirate vessel, the schooner did not appear until quite late in the 18th century, after the golden age of piracy.

Ship - Although today "ship" is a generic name for any seagoing vessel, in the 17th century it meant a three masted vessel fully square rigged throughout.

Sloop - A vessel with one mast, fore and aft rigged with a mainsail and a single foresail. This was the archetypal pirate vessel, small but heavily armed, and with a shallow draught to enable it to hide in the many inlets of the Caribbean islands. 

Square Rig - Having the principle sails set at right angles to the length of the vessel and extended by horizontal yardarms slung from the mast, (as opposed to fore and aft rig). In later centuries "square rig" was also the name of a sailor's uniform.

Tender - A small boat towed or carried by a larger vessel.

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2004-02-08 [iippo]: if you can share anymore cool info about pirates or sailing, add to Pirates

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