Pirate Adventure (AM1446) Scale: 1:60 Length: 78 cm
During the so-called “Golden Age” of piracy (roughly 1700-1725), thousands of pirates terrorized shipping lanes all over the world, particularly in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. These ruthless men (and women) needed good ships to be able to run down their prey and escape from pirate hunters and navy vessels. Where did they get their ships, and what made for a good pirate craft?
What Was a Pirate Ship?
In one sense, there was no such thing as a “pirate” ship. There was no shipyard where pirates could go and commission and pay for a pirate ship to their specifications. A pirate ship is defined as any vessel whose sailors and crew are engaged in piracy. Thus, anything from a raft or canoe to a massive frigate or man of war could be considered a pirate vessel. Pirates could and did use very small boats, even canoes when nothing else was at hand.
Where Did Pirates Get Their Ships?
Since no one was making ships exclusively for piracy, pirates had to somehow capture existing ships. Some pirates were crewmen on board naval or merchant vessels who took over by mutiny: George Lowther and Henry Avery were two well-known pirate captains who did so. Most pirates simply traded ships when they captured one that was more seaworthy than the one they had been using.
Sometimes brave pirates could steal ships: “Calico Jack” Rackham was cornered by Spanish gunships one night when he and his men rowed over to a sloop the Spanish had captured. In the morning, he sailed away in the sloop while the Spanish warships shot up his old ship, still anchored in the harbor.
What Did Pirates Look for in a Ship?
A good pirate ship needed three things: it needed to be seaworthy, fast, and well-armed. Seaworthy ships were especially necessary for the Caribbean, where devastating hurricanes are a yearly occurrence. Since the best ports and harbors were usually off-limits to pirates, they often had to ride out storms at sea. Speed was very important: if they could not run down their prey, they would never capture anything. It was also necessary to outrun pirate hunters and navy ships. They needed to be well-armed in order to win fights.
Blackbeard, Sam Bellamy, and Black Bart Roberts had massive gunboats and were very successful. Smaller sloops had advantages as well, however. They were quick and could enter shallow inlets to hide from searchers and evade pursuit. It was also necessary to “careen” ships from time to time. This is when the ships were intentionally beached so that the pirates could clean the hulls. This was easy to do with smaller ships but a real chore with larger ones.
Create your own pirating ship with Amati’s Pirate Adventure kit which contains wooden laser cut keel, frames and deck; double wooden planking; masts; sails; riggings; construction plans and instructions.
Scale 1:60 – Total Length cm. 78 (30.1″)
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