Swashbuckler 1700

Pirate razees

5 posts in this topic

ok so

if razee is unkown term look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razee

From general History of Pirates

"

When the Ship came out to Sea, Lowther called up all the Company, and told them, it was the greatest Folly imaginable, to think of returning to England, for what they had already done, could not be justifyed upon any Pretence whatsoever, but would be look'd upon, in the Eye of the Law, a capital Offence, and that none of them were in a Condition to withstand the Attacks of such powerful Adversaries, as they would meet with at Home; for his Part he was determined not to run such a Hazard, and therefore if his Proposal was not agreed to, he desired to be set a Shore in some Place of Safety: That they had a good Ship under them, a parcel of brave Follows in her, that it was not their Business to starve, or be made Slaves; and therefore, if they were all of his Mind, they should seek their Fortunes upon the Seas, as other Adventurers had done before them. They one and all came into the Measures, knocked down the Cabins, made the Ship flush fore and aft, prepared black Colours, new named her, the Delivery, having about 50 Hands and 16 Guns, and the following short Articles were drawn up, signed and sworn to upon the Bible."

So the main thing is the ship and how it was modified. I wonder was it common habit?

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I believe Foxe had a thread on this a few years ago, but I can't seem to find it. Perhaps it was on another forum? Or maybe I read it in one of his papers or dissertations. I do recall reading his comments on the topic.

As I remember it, he said the pirates regularly did this and cited several examples of it. It seems to me the purpose was either to make the vessel faster or better for fighting or possibly both.

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IF I recall correctly, that is basically taking a commercial/trading vessel and making it "frigate-like" in deck configuration.

That primary consisted of razing (cutting down) the fore and aft parts above the deck, lowering the center-of-gravity and allowing guns (cannon) to be used where they otherwise wouldn't have been able to operate due to space and the deck-strength itself.

Also, there is the "knocking down" of internal partitions. that is mainly for 2 purposes: 1) allowing the gun crews freedom of movement without hitting a non-structural wall and 2) allowing crew to quickly move around during battle.

Those are the same reason combat vessels of the era were configured that way, esp. small ones. Small vessels, like sloops-of-war and frigates had to be optimized for combat movement of the crew, of which many pirates had been during Queen Anne's War (The War of Spanish Succession).

As the idea was for a pirate ship/vessel to operate, functionally, as a privateer commerce-raider. Accordingly, the crews set out to covert their vessels into what they knew worked well.

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I would say that razees made a ship more "galley-built" and less "frigate-built." E.g., Falconer's Marine Dictionary, "FRIGATE-BUILT, (fregaté, Fr.) implies the disposition of the decks of such merchant-ships as have a descent of four or five steps from the quarter-deck and fore-castle into the waist, in contra-distinction to those whose decks are on a continued line for the whole length of the Ship, which are called galley-built."

Aside from Lowther, Every razeed the Charles when he made her into the Fancy, which made her into a veritable speed demon according to an East India Company agent: "having taken down a great deal of his upper work and made her exceeding snugg, which advantage being added to her well sailing before, causes her to sail so hard now that shee fears not who follows her."

I have heard it said that cutting down raised afterdecks and foredecks was pretty routine for pirates, but I don't know any other specific examples right off besides Lowther and Every.

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Good point.

The later frigate was a merger of the frigate and galley concept. At this time, there were more differences than just oars/sweeps and no sweeps, despite them looking a lot alike.

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