Friday, August 17, 2007

Pirates: Crewmembers II

Pirates in pursuit of a merchant vessel

To complete the series ...

Captain Kidd takes a smoke on the deck of the Adventure

Carpenter / Surgeon
A surgeon was a rare catch on any ship, and in practice it was usually the ship’s carpenter who performed this duty, because he was the only one with the tools of the trade, namely a saw for performing amputations. The boatswain was on hand with a red-hot axe to cauterize the wounds, and the sail maker would do the suturing.
The carpenter was responsible for keeping the ship’s hull and mast sound. In the heat of battle, he and his team would shore up leaks and patch holes. After an empty ship has been captured, the carpenter performed a speed inspection before deciding whether the prize was seaworthy

The Bounty sailing in the Pacific

Since food, drink, and many other supplies such as lamp oil and gunpowder were stored in wooden barrels, the skill of barrel making was vital to the wellbeing of the crew. His vigilance ensured that the barrels were kept as air- or water-tight as possible. To save space, barrels were assembled and dismantled as required.

Walter Mattew and Cris Carpenter in Pirates

The daily maintenance and inventory of ship’s supplies, from tar and tallow to sails and tackle, was managed by the boatswain. He was the most experienced sailor on board, and his expert knowledge of the rigging and sails meant the difference between life and death.
Master Gunner
The master gunner maintained the ship’s cannons and ensured that the gunpowder was kept safe and dry. He trained the teams of men who operated the cannons and kept them battle ready.

A pirate smoking a pipe

This position was often taken by a member of the crew who had gained a severe battle injury that prevented him from performing other more demanding duties. Preparing palatable meals when the ship’s food quickly became rotten within a few weeks into a voyage was a tough challenge.

Walter Matthew as a pirate captain

Anyone who could play an instrument was a valuable member of the crew. Musical entertainment was important to boos morale and to relieve boredom. Jigs and nautical shanties were well-liked and loud martial music was played during battle
Carpenter, J.R. (2006), Pirates, Scourge of the Seas, pgs 46-47;
Barnes & Noble [Gusto:China]

No comments: