Present Ships in Captain Blacks Fleet
The Square-Rigger, Black Swan I, is the flag ship. Many people do not realize that, like other sailing fleets, pirates often had more than one ship, and some pirates had flagships in their fleets. Her size, 110 feet long on the main deck, allowed her to carry up to 200 men. In addition, her capacity to carry cargo "made her an excellent transport for the collected swag of a pirate flotilla." She housed 20 cannons and 8 swivel guns. When they set to sea, to openly apply their trade. JD would be upon the Black Swan II, preparing for intercepts. The man she often trusted to over see the Black Swan I's men and captian the helm during these times, was none other than one Mr. Daniel Gibbs. Midshipman by trade, until his recent promotion due to her own aquisition of the Black Swan II. That was before he was murdered by the Ton. By Admiral Randall Simon Cain himself. JD personally seen to the Admiral's demise
The Black Swan II is a Brigantine, distinguished by two masts for and aft, and could reach
speeds up to 11 knots. .... The shallow-draft, two mast brigand's ship provided great manuverablity and speek from it's various square and fore/aft-rigged sail possiblities. This ship was first choice for prolonged battles instead of quick hits. A larger cargo area combined with moderat firepower meant the versatile brigatine could be utilized for carrying away the bounty often gained. 80 foot in length, it carried 100 men easily. It's 12 cannons and 4 swivel guns would make it deadly as well as fast. Another feature of that endeared brigand was her shallow draft. This enabled her to navigate in shallow waters. A spoil of war, would be the explaination of how it was gained. She too would hoist the black sails of the flag ship. A display that would mirror the larger vessel of her father's.
"...when a pirate ship was hailed in mid-ocean by another passing ship, and asked who she was and whence she came, the traditional pirate reply was: "From the Seas."
Many of the men were from the crews of merchant ships, either forced into service or volunteered to keep their neck. Some were deserters of the Navy or ex-military men looking for employment. Why so many willingly turning to the life of pirates? Why endure the hardship of being a pirate, especially since being a pirate was punishable by death -- hanging? Life aboard a merchant ship or in the Navy was brutal. Discipline was harsh and severe. The more known punishments aboard ships were keelhauling (being scraped across the barnacles on a ship's bottom), walking the plank, going through a gauntlet, hanging, being dunked in the sea or towed from the yardarms flogged with a rawhide whip or beaten with a cane. In some cases an officer might dip a rope in tar and flog the sailor. Other punishment that sailors endured that is not spoken of much is eating bugs, such as cockroaches, physical beatings, jamming a sailors mouth with iron bolts. All this created a hatred for authority, the common bond of pirates.
They found not only a fierce leader in their lovely Captain, JD Black, but a woman who could negotiation better than any politician, and make the other believe they came out the benefactor, or held the upper hand. Deception was one of her greatest assets. Under her command they found the weight of coins in their pouches to grow quite steadily, not to mention the bobbles and priceless items gained on a raid. Wealth and power through darker means. Not a tear to be shed for the flow of red, unless it came from their own. But that was only a result of their happiness in the split being more due to one less pouch to be filled.
Although, JD wasn't fully heartless. If one of her men died that had a family, his family would never want for anything again; as long as she was able to provide. When not out to sea, the crew and their captain could often be found at the Dockside Tavern and Inn.
Crew of the Black Swan
(Click Pic above)
Dockside Tavern and Inne - Port of Heathfield
Message board thread.