Pirate Day!?! Ohf*** now where do I start…


It's International Talk-Like-A-Pirate day and no one gave me advanced warning???  Age of piracy is my passion!!!

So in honor of international talk like a pirate day I will include a glossary or a lexicon or whatever term floats yer boat.

Schooner (sku – ner): A light, fast boat that actually travles faster than it's "hull speed" which means it hydroplanes across the water or as the scottish say: "schoons" which means it's skipping like a stone.  The word is in my title.  Other ships would be the galleon, the carrack, the junk, the fluet, the skiff, the snow, the barque, the brigantine and more… most ship names are based around the configuration of their rigging.

Rigging (rig – gin): Universal term for all the things that go into the sails of a ship.  Including sails, and mast.  If it's above the weatherdeck it's in the rigging.

Guns (gunz you know how to pronounce guns don't you?):  Pural term for the cannons on a ship.  At the time there was no confusion between these guns and smaller pistols and rifles which were referred to as such.  Guns were cannon.

Hold (hold):  A space on the ship most often the bottom or two bottom decks where the ships cargo was held.


Buccaneer (bucca·neer):  Derived from the french word "bocanier" which references to smoking boar meat or bacon as we now know it.  The term Buccaneer referred most specifically to french individuals from Hispanola and the Isle De La Torte (Isle of the Tortise) or Tortuga.

Keel (kEl): The centerline of a ship essentially the backbone of the ship.  It runs from bow to stern.  The term Keel-Hauling referred to when a person was thrown from the bow with a rope around him as the ship sailed overtop and his body was raked from the barnacles along the hull.  The process could take as long as 30 seconds to a minute and as you can imagine resulted in a few deaths or at the very least some nasty wounds drenched in saltwater.

Bow (bOw):  The front of the ship. (The pointy part)

Stern: (st ern):  The back part of the ship.

Port: The left side of the vessel when seen by someone facing the bow.

Starboard:  The right side of the vessel.

Tack (tak): A direction of sail relative to the wind direction.  Port tack would be sailing with the wind at the port side.

Jibe (jib): A method of sailing or tacking usually to sail into the wind.  It involves usually changing ship directions and angling the sails to catch the wind.  The term "cut of your jibe" refers to this meaning the way you carry yourself.  "I don't like the cut of your jibe" would literally mean "I don't like the way you angle your jibe, meaning it could be dangerous or inefficient or just poorly executed.  The modern term carries more social relevance meaning a person's bearing or professionalism.

Privateer: A sailing mercenary for a particular naval power (Britan, France, Spain, the Netherlands).  A captain would recieve a "letter of marque" which was effectively permission to attack ships of another country.  The age of privateering was commonplace during the mid 1500's to mid 1600's.  Primarily it was done by the French and the English, to pillage the spanish treasure fleets coming out of South America.  It's estimated that perhaps only 5% of the spanish treasure ships leaving South America made it to Spain with their cargoes intact.  Had 50 or 75% of them reached Spain, the political geography of today would likely be very different.  Coming to the end of latter half of the 1600's the major powers had their stations more solidly defined in the West Indies, and the Spanish treasure fleets were in decline.  Less letters of the Marque were being signed, and the naval fleets were more prevalent.  At this time, many once-privateers moved from legitimate privateering and continued to plunder ships illegally and became pirates. 

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About Helmsman

Importing a Vox Blog.
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