The Mildred, sailing from Newport to London with basic slag, struck under Gurnards Head at midnight on the 6th April 1912, whilst in dense fog. She swung broadside and was pounding heavily when Captain Larcombe, the mate, two Irishmen, one Welshman and a Mexican from Vera Cruz rowed into St. Ives at 6am - The Gibsons of Scilly
Hey, I'm writing this story and I have all my characters planned along with a few main points of the plot. Now, I'm writing a pirate fantasy romance story and I wanted some advice on it, especially on the relationship with the pirate and the main girl. Since most of the story will be set on the pirate ship I needed some help on things that could happen between them on it to get them to get close (The girl is captured by the way). Also about parts of pirate ships if it's too much.
Ooooh boy did you come to the right person! I know a few things about pirates and definitely knows the parts of a ship. I’d say “don’t get me started on pirates” but I’m afraid it’s too late.
Let’s talk about the ship first, since familiarity with it well help you set the scenes more naturally, and then we’ll brainstorm some things that they could do together on board.
First of all, let’s talk about types of ships. There isn’t just one established “pirate ship” that all pirates use. Ships were designed and redesigned for different purposes and conditions- some were built for speed, some for cargo, some for long voyages or harsh conditions, some for defense and some for attack. No single ship would ever be completely perfect- if you want your ship to be fast, for example, you might have to sacrifice some cargo space, which meant a smaller crew and less months at sea before you have to make port to re-stock again.
However, with all that being said, there was definitely some favorites. While it’s true that pirates from different parts of the world sometimes preferred different ships, the most common and popular would probably be the sloop. (Yes, I know it’s a funny word, lots of ships had funny names.)
Sloops were a favorite among pirates because they were slim and fast, which made them great for intercepting other ships and escaping attacks themselves. They typically only had 1 or very rarely 2-3 masts, and usually had up to 75 crew members, at its largest, and a max of 14 cannons, which is pretty darn good.
Of course there are other options, depending on the needs of your particular pirates. Another popular option was the brigantine, which was not nearly as fast, but better suited for the long term, with a crew closer to 100 members and usually around 12 cannons.
I know more ships, but let’s not get carried away. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting parts of the ship.
Port= left, starboard= right, stern=back, and bow=front. When you refer to something as being “aft”, you mean it’s towards the back of the ship, towards stern. When something is “fore”, it means it is found closer to the front of the ship, or the bow.
The head= the toilet
The Helm= the “steering wheel” of the ship
First, let’s know our decks. As you probably know, the deck is the top part of the ship, the wood that you walk on and where you see most of the action take place in movies, but there are different names for the different parts of the deck. The “poop deck” is the highest part, usually raised above the captain’s quarters, which was typically found “aft”, towards the back of the ship. The quarterdeck, on the other hand, is the important deck, usually where the captain or quartermaster stands and gives the orders. The big part is just called the deck or main deck.
The Captain’s quarters were briefly mentioned- the captain was the only one who had his own residence, and they were typically pretty luxurious.
Now the actually somewhat interesting parts.
NOT “The Crow’s Nest”!!!: The part you know as the “crow’s nest” is not actually called a crow’s nest, or at least, not on a pirate ship. That’s actually whaling terminology. The platform at the top of the mast is actually called the “top” or “fighting top” and yes, it can be used for scouting out land or obstacles, but it was actually known for a being a good place to sit with a gun and shoot your enemies on the deck, like a pirate sniper.
The Forecastle: This is the quarters of the crew. Often times in stories I see the crew each having their own cabins, or at the most, a roommate or two. That’s not exactly how it worked on an actual ship. Not that they actually spent much time in the bunk- it was really just a place to sleep when not on duty.
The Bilge: The is the bottom part of the ship. Dark, dank, musty, gross, but also the first place to tell if you have a leak. If you do have a leak, you want to run down to the bilge and fix them quickly, because if it fills up, you’re going down.
The Mast: There are actually different names for the different masts, depending on how many your ship has. If you have a speedy ship, it’s probably slow and you probably only have the one “main mast.” If the mast is destroyed, it’s not uncommon to build an emergency one really fast, called the “jury mast”- since you do need a mast to sail. The mast is the big wooden pole in the middle from which the sails are hung.
The Yardarm: This is the long pole that goes across the mast to hold the sails. I included it because it was also a popular place to hang people on.
Gangway/Gangplank: They’re actually different things. The gangWAY is the passages along the side of a ship, like a hallway. The gangPLANK is what is set down to walk on between ship and pier.
In honesty, all of the sails and lines have different names and purposes too, but I’m not going to get too into it right now. You can find some of them on websites like this or this.
Now for what they can do together…
A lot depends on their status on board. If the girl has been captured, determine how her captivity is taking place. If she’s being locked in the brig or cabin, their first interactions might involve them bringing her food or care, etc.
- It’s also possible that they are made to guard her, and hours of boredom turns to conversation after a while
It also matters what role the pirate has on board the ship.Here is an idea of roles on board a pirate ship.
If she has some amount of freedom (it is a ship at sea, what’s she gonna do, run away?), that will open up some more possibilities.
If the girl is curious, she might be interested in seeing how the ship is run. Or, the captain could potentially decide to make her help out with things. She is an extra pair of hands, after all.
There are lots of tasks involved within the running of a ship. She doesn’t necessarily have to be doing the sailing- she could help out in the galley, sew sails or clothes, maintain weapons, and so on.
Maybe she is made to do some tasks, but she doesn’t know how, and they take pity and try to help her out a little
There’s nothing like a nice emergency to make people work together. Being forced to work together for survival- a storm, a mutiny, an attack,etc- is a great bonding experience for anyone.
Perhaps the girl has something that the pirate wants, depending on her background. A random example- perhaps she has an educated background, and the pirate has something that they need read, or written, or something else. Really, it could be any knowledge that she has that they might be interested in.
Maybe she has something they want to know, so they’re nice to her in trying to get information, but then end up actually becoming close
Conversely, maybe she is interested in something that they can do, and keeps talking to them about it until their interest becomes mutual
I’m going to have to wrap this up, as it exciting as it is, my inbox is flooding, but I hope this helps some! Good luck, sounds like fun! Hit me up for any additional help with pirates or otherwise!
Materials: 4mm thick leather; 1.5mm thick steel, lots of 4mm thick iron nails, waxed thread, brass buckles. Needed: gambesson or padding ta wear beneath it.
Tools: jigsaw, drill, angle grinder with sandpaper disc, file, cutting tool (dremel in mah case), hole puncher, peenball hammer, anvil (buildin’ steel beam in mah case), dishing surface, awl, straight leather needles, bottle cap, sharpie, steel pipe. Optioal: rawhide or vynil hammer.
We need a pattern, ya’ll can use mine as a guide. The measures come from measurin’ yer body with the gambessón or paddin’ already on. Front and back pieces will be symetrical.
With the jigsaw, we’ll cut all dem pieces on the steel sheets.
Usin’ a bottle cap and a sharpie, we’ll mark how we’ll round up the edges on the lower corners of the long steel stripes. Rather than cut the excess, we’ll shave it off quicker with a sandpaper disc and an angle grinder.
With a file, we’ll soften all dem edges, since after cuttin’ they’ll be al sharp. Fer good measure, we’ll do it on both sides of every piece o’ steel.
Time ta curve the long strips. Not ‘ard usin’ tis intricate method: a pipe. We’ll bend em over the pipe, one by one, not usin’ too much strenght, we want dem curves ta be smooth.
Time ta cut the leather. Why now? Because we’ll put it over the curved sheets and see how long and wine it needs to be, if all was flat, the leather would be larger.
Now, usin’ the drill, we’ll make dem holes. Ah made 5 on each horizontal lame and 2 on every vertical one. The lower lame has also 5 more holes on the lower rim.
After drillin’ 'em, we’ll file the sharp edges left by the drill-bit.
Using the perforated lames as a guide, we’ll mark 'em on the leather pieces and will punch 'em. If yer floor tis ceramics or wooden, put sumthin’ beneath the leather so ya won’t damage it.
Now, we’ll river everythin’ in place. Dem rivets are hammered down into a dome shape, fixin’ everything together.
On the side rivets of the back side, we’ll also put dem buckles, and on the side rivets of the front we’ll put the leather stripes fer 'em. The only exception tis the lower lame, which has a long stip from the back side that embraces the front like a belt.
Now, we only stitch or rivet the stripes that’ll hang all from yer shoulders and ya can consider it finished.