Hello, there! I just saw your blog and dear lord I wish I had seen it earlier. You see, I'm writing a pirate based story but don't know the first things about boats. I've got a ton of questions but don't want to overload you, so I'll start small: what are some boats that are built for speed that were traditionally used by pirates and what are some types commonly used by bounty hunters?
So, for the audience out there, here’s a few more details provided by @argent-maelstrom: The fantasy world in this story is a mixture of modern technology and 1750s-1800s, including sailing ships.
First off, the pirates. Assuming Age-of-Sail type pirates, or the legendary type we tend to see in movies and stories, you’re looking a decent sized crew on a ship that can range a decent distance from shore. Most pirates wouldn’t feel a need to cross an ocean (it’s damned hard to find a ship on the open ocean, even with modern day radar); they’re more likely to lurk near major shipping lanes and ports. That said, even relatively close to shore (think 15+ miles, since you don’t want to be in visual range of a port with guns), you need a pretty tough sailing ship.
Most pirate ships were at least brigantines. Brigantines were two masted ships with at least two sails on the main mast. Pirates tended to shove as many guns onto them as possible, although most brigantines couldn’t manage more than one gun deck (which might get you between 10-30 guns at most). Navies tended to call ships this size frigates in the Age of Sail.
Pirates pretty much used whatever kind of ship they could steal. A pirate in a brigantine/frigate who could capture a bigger ship would then transfer his flag and crew to the newer, better ship. Here’s a neat link with some details on six famous pirate ships, which shows the variety of vessels that pirates used. Some acquired warships, others converted slave ships, and others found all kinds of other ships.
Bounty Hunters. This one is harder, since I can’t think of any nautical bounty hunters through history. Most bounty hunters are loners, and there just aren’t that many ships that can be sailed by a single person, particularly in the open ocean. (Today’s technology has produced more of them than the past did, and it’s always possible, but no matter how good of a sailor you are, the open ocean is a dangerous place). I honestly think a bounty hunter would probably book passage on another ship to get from Point A to Point B; unless your entire society is nautical, I can’t see someone who has honed the skills of a bounty hunter also being an expert sailor. So, I’d think you’d either get bounty hunters travelling on merchant ships - or, in more interesting cases, teaming up with pirates.
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