Monday, August 20, 2007

Pirates: Fighting Ships (RL & SL)



Speculaas Brigantine (with dramatic coloring! - lol!)

Size matters…

The size of the pirate ship was important. Large ships could ride out storms better than small ships, but they were less maneuverable and harder to clean. Movies usually show pirates sailing large ships such as galleons, because they look so impressive, but in fact, pirates favored small ships such as sloops, because they were fast and easy to maintain. Also, a small ship could sail into shallow water or hide among sandbanks to evade capture from a larger vessel.
The largest pirate ship to sail the Spanish Main was Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge, the only pirates with anything comparable in size and force were Bartholomew Roberts, William Moody, and Henry Avery.

[Being as Antiquity has expanded with four water sims, and as I have heard a bit about some possible combat taking place, I decided to review a number of the Chase Speculaas ships, which are combat enabled and are quite popular. {Disclaimer – I do own and use this class of ship, along with other nautical vessels, however this article is not an endorsement of these vessels} Additionally, some descriptions vary between rl & sl, but are completed due to sl use-of-vessel limitations. Even if it huge in RL, size considerations will modify the ship for playability purposes in SL].


The Mujer Vieja

Brigantine ("The Mujer Vieja", "Brigantine")

The Brigantine (or brig) was commonly used in coastal American trading. IT has two masts, with a square rigged mainmast and a mizzenmast with a fore-and-aft rigged mainsail and a square rigged topsail. Brigs were up to eighty (80) feet long, weighed about 150 tons, and could carry a hundred men and ten cannons. The brig was a very versatile vessel: the square rigging made it good at sailing in quarter winds, while with the fore-and-aft rigging it excelled when sailing to windward. Captain Hook’s vessel in Peter Pan, the Jolly Roger, is a brigantine
Mr. Speculaas has two versions of the Brigantine, with his new version being the "Mujer Vieja".


Schooner ("Pirate Ship")

This vessel had two masts which were usually both fore-and-aft rigged. It had a shallow draft, drawing only about five feet of water, so it could easily hide out in shallow water. It had a narrow hull and with a favorable wind, could streak through the water at a speed of almost twelve (12) knots. Its main drawback was a lack of hold space, which limited travel range and the amount of plunder it could carry. It weighed about 100 tons, had eight cannons, and needed about seventy-five crew. One of the most famous pirate vessels of fiction, the Hispaniola, which appears in Robert Louis Steveson’s Treasure Island, was a schooner.



Junk ("Red Dragon")

The universal maritime vessel in the Far East, the junk was originally developed during the Han dynasty and became the longest-serving ship in human history. Junks were fast and highly maneuverable. The largest pirate junks were over 100 feet long with four masts, but most were smaller and with one or two masts. Rigging was simple, reducing the number of ropes required. Other notable features included a high stern, a flat bow, and an adjustable rudder. Pirate junks had swivel guns called lantaka.


Sloop ("Combat Sloop")

During the seventeenth and eighteen centuries, the sloop was the most popular pirate vessel. It was a single-masted ship rigged fore-and-aft with a main sail and a single foresail, or jib. It carried a vast amount of sail relative to its size, making it very fast. Records of pirate attacks in the Caribbean and North American coast between 1710 and 1730 shows that over half were carried out by pirates in sloops; forty-five percent involved ships and only fifteen percent involved brigs, brigantines, and schooners.



Crumster ("Combat Barge")

There was a variation of a ship called the "Hoy"; it lacked speed but could carry lots of loot and the gun deck could carry up to sixteen guns. It had three masts, with the mizzenmast carrying a lanteen or gaff sail. The crumster could be used as a warship to protect a fleet of galleons. (The Speculaas version isn’t exactly a crumster, but it does have the appropriate speed (slow) and guns (numerous) to somewhat qualify.)
http://www.slexchange.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=59849
Carpenter, J.R. (2006), Pirates, Scourge of the Seas, pgs 90-106;
Barnes & Noble [Gusto:China]



ARRRGGG! Bring on your worst comments!

Well, if one is willing to publish, one has to take the barbs... I'm looking forward to comments and suggestions about this entry (lol)!

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