Pirates and Privateers

Pirates and privateers used any kind of ship they could put hands on. In many cases they simply took over vessels they captured or 'inherited' through mutiny. However, ships with great speed were on top of the wishing list, as their targets had to be 'sailed-out' in a speedy race and, if necessary, they needed a quick getaway from their hunters. Therefore, they kept their ships in excellent shape, cleaning off all marine life from the hulls, actually spending more time on maintaining their vessels than for their own hygienic.

The Islands of The Bahamas were a perfect spot to hide the ships in a secret and shallow bay. It was easy to unload the booty and carry out repairs, or just lying on one of the beautiful sand beaches dreaming about how to spend all the money. The schooner and the sloop were favorites among pirates, with good speed and a shallow draft, allowing to sail in shallow coastal waters leaving larger warship behind.

The Pirates' Wishing List:

The schooner had two masts with two large sails and sometimes a large headsail attached to the bowsprit. There was plenty of room for the crew and more space to carry the loot.

The sloop was a fast 100 ton, single-masted vessel with one large mainsail attached to the mast and the long boom, and a huge bowsprit. Top speed could exceed 11 knots (20 km/h).

The brigantine was more of a pirate's trophy to show up, a choice for battle rather than a quick run on a merchant's vessel. She had two masts and a large 150 ton hull to carry 10 cannons and 100 pirates. Most of the captured ships were either burned or sunk as they were to no use to the pirates. Today, the islands of The Bahamas are an underwater cemetery for all those sunken ships, a paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers alike.