Pirate Corvettes

Pirate Corvettes These are mid-intensity pirate ships. They are capable of oceanic piracy, but they also may like to do other things on their off-time.

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Hakone Pirate ships, Hakone Japan. LOA ca. 140′ (2 active) These two pirate sisterships terrorize Lake Ashi, Japan. Best OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) tracking suggests the operational tempo of these two ships is incredible. They are out projecting piracy on the Lake almost continuously…maintaining a close blockade of Tōgendai Port, and stopping all commerce in the area. Though the ships look a little dumpy, their shallow draft and low rig is well suited to the conditions of piracy on Lake Ashi. These are evolved pirate ships, and if they were to fall in with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), with its self-defense carriers and self-defense guided-missile destroyers, we feel it would be a quick morning’s work, a quick crossing of the “T”, and then some jolly good JMSDF prizes to be had!

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One of the Hakone pirate ships on its close blockade/trade interdiction/raiding sorties. This red one can be distinguished from the blue one, by its redness, vs. the blueness – these are technical terms. Credit: Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hakone Japan pirate ship underway 2017Hakone Japan pirate ships 2020Hakone Japan pirate ship underway 2014

Captain Hook’s Pirate Ships Disneyland, Paris. LOA 85′ pierced for about 20 cannon. According to grainy footage and a lot of hearsay from a group of meddlesome children, this ship had limited flying capability. This ship was a follow-on to a successful pirate attraction ship from the original Disneyland, from the 1950s, called “Chicken of the Sea” or Captain Hook’s Galley, it served as a restaurant with plentiful Tuna. The original was dismantled during the 1980s. The design heavily-influenced a similar ship attraction built at the Paris Disneyland, which is still in service. We have bumped it up in the arrangement of ships because, well, look at it. This ship is so beamy that it must have been a very stable gun platform, with some good accommodation spaces for pirates. It does a lot on a short hull – it has cannons, the decorative program is so lavish that these must have been successful pirates, it is reasonably rigged, and they serve good chow! Also, the Disneyland Paris design is an upgraded variant: The original Chicken of the Sea had about 8 cannon on the broadside and some lighter pieces up top. The Paris ship had its armament significantly enhanced, being now pierced for 10 cannon a side on the gundeck.

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Disneyland pirate ship, ca. 1950s. This is the US Disneyland former attraction, but is very similar or the same as the Paris ship. Credit: foundin_a_attic, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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The Jolly Roger model, based closely on the lines of the Captain Hook / Chicken of the Sea Disneyland attraction/restaurant, Credit: Warsearcher.com
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The Jolly Roger model, based closely on the lines of the Captain Hook / Chicken of the Sea Disneyland attraction/restaurant, Credit: Warsearcher.com

Captain Hook's pirate ship Disney Paris 2019

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Top view of Model ship Jolly Roger, based closely on the Disneyland attraction. Credit: Warsearcher

HMS Surprise LOA 170′ Built 1970 Lunenburg, NS. Originally called HMS Rose, a replica of a mid-18th Century 20-gun sixth-rate. Built in the Smith and Rhuland shipyard, the hull form was modified, making the ship able to point higher into the wind…clearly with piracy in mind, as this would give her a turn of speed to escape pursuing vessels upwind. This ship was “converted” to HMS Surprise, from the Patrick O’Brien novels, early in the 2000s. This involved some superficial updates to resemble a Napoleonic-era vessel. In 2010 she played the HMS Providence in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. HMS Surprise museum tall ship San Diego 2008

Grand Hermine replica carrack / roadside disaster. LOA 165′. This decaying thing has been by the roadside between Grimsby and St. Catherine’s Ontario for a long time. So long, in fact that a very young warsearcher took photos of it. Confined to an inland sea, it sits grimly in the water, awaiting something. This ship may actually be a 110-year old ferry from Quebec, but is often confused with a different replica of Grand Hermine, that was built for Expo 67 and moved to Quebec City. In the early 1990s this different ship was purchased by a local businessman with dreams of converting it to a restaurant and casino. He died and none of those plans were realized, so it sits in Jordan Harbour Marina. In 2003, it was extensively damaged by fire, which, somewhat freakishly, has revealed the original ferry. So it survived burning, which means it is tough…and could be used again as a pretty effective fire-ship or burning flying dutchman type thing, but it doesn’t seem to be a good investment for most piratical enterprises. Grand Hermine replica Jordan Harbour ON 2018

Small Barque in a parque? The Leander LOA 160′ which may be a barque, but could be something else, is a bit of a problematic pirate ship. It is pierced for 4 cannon on each broadside, with 8 more very heavy guns on deck. It seems to be a bit under-rigged, so wouldn’t be a good interceptor pirate platform. It is also stuck in a small lake in the middle of a park in Caracas, Venezuela. Before 2011 there was an older caravel-looking replica in the same spot. So we can only assume it has sunk at least one merchant ship. It does get full points for an impressive expanse of stern lights, where a captain could dream of life beyond the lake.

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The Leander reconstruction, built into an artificial lake in Caracas. [Detail of] Credit: Luigino Bracci, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Leander Barque Caracas park 2021

Polish Pirate Ship LOA 105′ berthed at Nowa Motława, Gdańsk, Poland. Pretty Polish pirate ship, but is it protected with anything powerful?  This pirate ship shows the mid-17th Century tendency to confuse warship design with the baking techniques for multi-tiered wedding cakes: lots of levels, lots of curly cues and chocolate, where are the guns?!

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Polish pirate ship at Gdansk, ca. 2019. Otto Domes, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Polish Pirate ship Gdansk 2018

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