The Ship Types - Ship Rigged

Your Adventure Awaits…

The East Coast - Ship Rigged Fleet

Colonial Navy Inc. plans to build up to 16 full-sized copies of historic American and Canadian square-rigged ships of the period 1607 to 1780. Each will be licensed to carry 12 paying trainees in double cabins. The ships will be operated along the East Coast, the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and the Great Lakes, depending upon the seasons and the weather. These ships will be identical below the waterline, and will differ in details, trim, color-schemes, and rigs. They will measure 65 feet long on deck and 20 feet beam. They will normally be sailed in small fleets of from four to six at a time, allowing for inter-vessel competitions afloat and ashore, as well as cooperation between the ships. The office to run the East Coast ships will probably be in Portsmouth, Virginia.

To learn more, click on any ship name. To see a larger drawing of any ship, click on it's image.


Batchelor Delight
About 1682, it was obvious that Charles II would never have any legitimate children and would therefore eventually be succeeded by his loathsome brother James. About 50 young English college graduates therefore decided to make their fortunes outside the country while they could still leave. After many false starts, they got hold of a brand-new Danish ship, which they renamed Batchelors Delight, and hired as captain John Cook (buccaneer Edward Davis replaced him when Cook died). They hired as “chirurgeon” (surgeon) Lionel Wafer (who had “gone native” in Panama for years, and so knew the value of having chocolate and other tropical goods on a ship). Both of them had vast experience at sea around the world. When the young men proposed going “privateering” (to them, a nice way of saying “a-pirating”) in the Caribbean, Wafer protested the danger of capture there, and proposed the west coast of Latin America as a safer alternative. This ship, by the way, is not to be confused with another ship of the same name, size and date that participated in the founding of York Factory, Manitoba for the Hudson’s Bay Company.

After several years of successful plundering from Chile to California (during which time they also managed to discover eastern New Zealand, which they called Davisland, and Easter Island, and they were also the first English people to visit, chart, and document the Galapagos Islands; their account was avidly read by Darwin), they decided they had gained enough treasure. The most famous member of the crew, William Dampier, at this point joined the crew of another ship so he could sail around the globe. The crew of the Batchelors Delight heard in 1687 at Panama that James II was about to be thrown out by Parliament and replaced by his daughter Mary with her husband William. Therefore, as insurance, they buried a third of their treasure on Isla Coco, Costa Rica, and sailed back around Cape Horn, spotting the Antarctic Peninsula in the bad weather (the first people ever to see Antarctica). The various pirates were dropped off in groups of four in English colonies from Jamaica to New Hampshire with their shares of the treasure, so as not to draw attention to themselves. The ship was sold in Philadelphia to a few members of her own crew, who took her a-pirating to the Indian Ocean, and she disappeared from the public record about 1697. Wafer, Davis, John Hingson, and Pierre Cloise had not been in Virginia even one day when they were arrested under suspicion of piracy (someone had recognized Davis). After almost three years in jail (where Cloise died) at Jamestown pending trial, they were sent to London, where the judge struck a plea bargain: they could have their freedom in return for surrendering a large proportion of their loot to King William & Queen Mary for some charitable purpose. The monarchs then gave the money (today’s value: about $12 million) to found the College of William & Mary in 1693 at what is now Williamsburg, Virginia. Davis later recovered the rest of his treasure from Costa Rica, just in time to donate some of it to the rebuilding of William & Mary after a fire in 1705. A portrait of the ship has now been found on a period French map of the Americas, and another portrait on a map of the Galapagos; accurate pictures of specific pirate ships are extremely rare. Like many ships of her day, she carried a square spritsail-topsail on a small mast precariously perched on the end of the bowsprit.
The ship Batchelors Delight

14-gun Revolutionary War Privateer Corvette ALLEGIANCE

The Allegiance
When the Continental Navy was founded late in 1775, one of the highest-ranking American officers in the Royal Navy was Lieutenant Stanton Hazard of Newport, RI. He was asked if he would like to serve as a lieutenant in the new navy, and said he would take nothing lower than commander (captain of a vessel of 10 to 18 guns). When his offer was refused, he joined the other side. He bought a fast 14-gun ship-rigged corvette or mini-frigate (possibly originally a brig), which had probably been in the rum-smuggling and chocolate trade, and named her King George. From Brooklyn to New Bedford, he kept the seas clear of Rebel vessels until 7 July 1779. Colonel Silas Talbot of Rhode Island (Continental Army) was given command of a decrepit transport sloop, Argo, which he filled with hidden armed men. He came alongside the unsuspecting privateer King George and overwhelmed her crew with sheer numbers. The former scourge of Long Island Sound was taken prize into New London. Hazard spent the rest of the war on parole on his farm in southwestern Rhode Island, where he had his portrait painted in his British uniform. A few days later, under American colors, the little ship was captured by the British as soon as she ventured forth. She was taken into the Royal Navy under the name of Allegiance, which may also have been her American name. She cruised for three years along the American coast. She was captured by de la Perouse and his powerful French frigate l’Astree in 1782, a year after a French officer aboard the frigate L’Hermione had painted a portrait of her that survives in France. No subsequent record of her has been found; she was not taken into the French Navy.
The ship Allegiance

14-gun Revolutionary War Privateer Corvette GENERAL PICKERING

Captain Jonathan Haraden (1744-1803), who had previously served as lieutenant and then captain of the Massachusetts Navy sloop (later brig) Tyrannicide, took command of the Salem, Massachusetts letter-of-marque General Pickering in 1778; a letter-of-marque was a ship used primarily as a merchant ship, but with special bonds posted with the court, and official permission to behave as a privateer when occasion offered. She was a ship-rigged corvette or mini-frigate. Over the next few years, Haraden carried many lucrative cargoes (bringing back weapons and cognac brandy from France, and molasses, sugar, rum, and chocolate from the Caribbean), and captured numerous enemy merchant ships, making himself and his ship’s owners wealthy. He had many lucky escapes from larger warships and privateers. One of the latter, Achilles, was a former British East Indiaman of 40 heavy guns he encountered in June 1780 along the Biscay coast of Spain, when he had just sent a rich prize into a Spanish port. Apparently, hundreds of spectator craft came out to watch the battle. When Haraden ran out of cannonballs, he took crowbars from the cargo and fired them at the enemy. Achilles, surprised and much damaged in her rigging, broke off the engagement. The ship’s owners gratefully presented Haraden with a silver hot-chocolate pot and two silver canns, each engraved with a portrait of the brave little ship. The silver now belongs to the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, but surprisingly no modern photographs are yet on file of it, although an early twentieth-century photograph has been published. General Pickering and one of her flotillas of prizes were captured by Admiral Rodney’s forces when they sailed unsuspectingly into the Dutch Caribbean port of Sint Eustatius that Rodney had taken on 3 February 1781. No record has been found of her subsequent career; she was not taken into the Royal Navy. Haraden was released and successfully commanded the privateer Julius Caesar, a sister-ship of General Pickering.
The Ship General Pickering

Colonization Barque GIFT OF GOD

The ship Gift of God
It is not generally known, but the same corporation of businessmen who founded Jamestown, Virginia with the three ships Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery in 1607 also founded a second settlement, Saint George’s Fort, that same year on the Kennebec River in Maine (which was also considered to be part of Virginia in those days). They built a sophisticated fort, Saint George’s Fort, known from a detailed picture, and most recently from some exciting archaeology; but things went wrong. Sir John Popham, the London patron, died. Then Captain Thomas Popham (his nephew), captain of the Gift of God and commander of the settlement, died. Then his deputy, 25-year-old Raleigh Gilbert, returned to England to claim a large legacy. The first winter was the coldest on record, and about half the people in the colony were sent back to England so that the remainder would have enough food and firewood. In spite of this, the survivors managed to build a 30-ton ocean-going vessel, Virginia. Before the second winter could cripple them, the remainder returned to England. Whereas Jamestown settlers several times attempted to abandon their colony due to lack of food stemming from a ten-year drought, the Maine colony had plenty of food. The problem was that most of the food consisted of plentiful lobsters and clams, which they thought were not fit for human consumption! Recent research shows that Jamestowners and others surreptitiously spent summers at the Maine fort for years after it had been abandoned. The ships that brought the settlers over were the 200-ton Mary & John, and the Gift of God, a barque that was about the same size as Jamestown’s middle-sized ship, Godspeed. A barque was a three-masted ship with no square sails on the mizzen. It is believed that Gift of God was the ship depicted on the title page of a 1609 booklet promoting emigration to Virginia.
Barque Gift of God

8-gun Fishing Pink/Pirate Ship La SAINTE-ANNE/REVENGE/ROSE-PINK

The ship-rigged Pink la Sainte-Anne was probably built in Newfoundland shortly after 1700. In the seventeenth century, the idea of the double-ended “pink” appeared as the safest platform for fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in all weathers because rogue waves in hurricanes approaching from either end would be unlikely to overwhelm such a vessel. Pinks could be as small as 25 feet long or larger than 125 feet. This one was a ship-rigged pink about 65 feet on deck, originally belonging to French fishermen based at Plaisance (now called Placentia) in Newfoundland (Newfoundland was for many years a colony administered during peace-time jointly by the English and the French). She is known to us from a French engraving of her from about 1715. She was probably typical of many ships found on the Grand Banks throughout the 18th century, but her portrait is the earliest known of an early American or Canadian fishing vessel. In 1723, she belonged to William Minott of Boston, when she was stolen in Newfoundland by out-of-work sailor-carpenter John Phillips and friends, who renamed her Revenge. Armed with only two cannons (plus some fake wooden cannons, known as “Quakers”) and some swivel-guns, she boldly sailed up to and captured ships of many nations from Newfoundland to Tobago, because no one suspected danger from an approaching fishing ship. The loot, however, was no more than paltry. The following year, she was sent home with freed prisoners, while the pirates sailed away on a new ship, until some of the crew murdered the pirates days later. Among the freed prisoners were the great-grandfather of US President Millard Fillmore, and the grandfather of Jonathan Haraden (captain of General Pickering).

Notoriously brutal pirate Ned Low had a short career from 1721 to 1724, using a variety of ships. One of his most important was another sister-ship, Rose Pink, formerly belonging to French Newfoundland fishermen. He lost her through stupidity in a careening accident in the Caribbean.
Ship Revenge

10-gun Continental Navy Barque (ex-Lugger) SURPRISE

Barque Surprise
Benjamin Franklin, the American Commissioner in Paris, had his associate William Hodge purchase a lugger at Dunkirk early in 1777, which he named Surprise (original name unknown). A lugger normally had the exact same hull and bowsprit as a cutter, but with an unusual 3-masted rig of French design. Luggers were developed for the fishing fleet, but they also found use as coastal privateers, smugglers, and pirates. No doubt, this one had been involved in smuggling cognac brandy into England in exchange for copper. Franklin placed American captain Gustavus Conyngham of Philadelphia in charge of her, and she became the Continental Navy’s 29th vessel. In the same way as Captain Nicholson had a high American quarterdeck and stern, as well as a low forecastle, fitted to the cutter Dolphin, Conyngham had carpenters build such a stern and forecastle on Surprise (but without quartergalleries) – undoubtedly the only lugger ever to be so fitted. Due to the excess weight aft, she could mount only ten guns instead of her original 14. At the same time, using the existing masts and yards, he converted the fore and main masts to standard square rig (much more versatile than the lug rig), but he left the lug mizzen in place, using its topmast as an ensign staff, so the best description of the rig is that she was a barque. With a motley crew of Americans, Irishmen, Frenchmen, and others, she sailed on a brief cruise and captured two British prizes. Unfortunately, one of those prizes was a mail packet, which was off-limits even in wartime. The British then leaned on the French (who were not yet officially in the war) to confiscate the vessel and her two prizes, which were returned to the British, and to lock up her captain. Conyngham was quietly released in a few days to take command of the cutter Revenge in May 1777, but Surprise’s subsequent history (out of American control) is not recorded. One rather indistinct woodcut of Surprise is known. Of course, this Surprise is completely different from the frigate Surprise (formerly Rose) that appeared in Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey movie, Master & Commander, and is on display at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
The Brig Ship Surprise

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