William Brand

The Mercury, 1720 Careening Camp

270 posts in this topic

Not a bad idea. Straw should be cheaper and would come in handy if the weather turned for worse... not that I'm believing for that...

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I agree. Straw would be a nice addition. Could someone who is driving bring a few straw bales. I'm not sure how accessible it would be in Key West. I seem to recall the subject of straw coming up once before.

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Straw is a great idea I was also thinking some light weight crates, smalish ones say from a produce or fish department at the grocer would also be useful. They are held together with wire and break down rather easily. I'll look into that.

What about the locals that Harry mentioned earlier (Spike and crew). Will they be helping with the camp?

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Sea turtle shells? Can someone make some fakes as I think they are on the endangered list now, in which case I wonder if any real can be purchased...

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Great! Bookmarking this one... would be fantastic as a teaching tool at events...Thanks for the find!

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For those of you who are not following the discussion called "A Seamans Camp: making camp authentic and nautical, Some tips to make your camp seaworthy" taking place under the Plunder forum, I have copied a recent post about the 1720 Mercury Careening Camp which I made to answer a question asked by Calico Jack. I am posting it here for those people who have questions about the careening camp. I tried to keep the statement relatively general since we are still an evolving idea.

http://pyracy.com/forums/index.php?showtop...opic=11490&st=0

Do you folks have a specific careening in mind for the 1720 [not 1729][grins] careening camp?

First, thank you all for the discussion. The points raised, debated, counter-raised, argued, raised to the ground, explained and raised from the dead are all very interesting. I have gleaned a little from everyone.

Now, to answer Calico Jack...

The setting or backdrop of the 1720 Mercury Careening Camp is an interesting one. Since the Pirates in Paradise Festival takes place on Key West, and given the chosen year of 1720, the careening takes place in what would have been Spanish waters. Now Fort Zachary Taylor was not built until 1845, so the fort itself is not 'period'. However, the hostilities between Spain and England were such that the year 1720 falls almost directly between the destruction of St. Augustine of 1702 and the Georgian's attack on Florida in 1740, with numerous hostilities of various degrees falling in between. This establishes the English presence, and while it may be a bit fluid and anachronistic in 1720, it suits our purposes.

Now, since Harry always has a Red Coat presence at the festival every year, for the purpose of the festival we must argue that for narrative reasons these English soldiers are trying to gain a foothold, outpost or secret base of operations within Spanish Florida. The geography of Key West, both historically, politically and physically, have changed to such a degree that we have to take considerable license, but the fort is there and damn us if were not going to use it!

The Mercury and her crew are much easier to explain away. Spanish waters had English pirates. Done.

Our story for the festival is this...The Mercury, being an older Bermuda sloop, requires some repairs to her aging hull. The crew of the Mercury has beached the sloop on the Key of Bones for the purpose of careening her to scrape her hull and pitch the seams. By necessity the crew must pitch a makeshift camp ashore while the work on their ship is completed. Relatively simple story.

How do we explain away the English proximity to pirates? Again, it is relatively simple. The Pirates have careened the Mercury out of sheer necessity. They are willing to careen so near the usurping English because they know that the forces there are small, almost threadbare. The English cannot afford to over reach their tentative foothold in Spanish waters and we cannot afford a clash with the English while the Mercury is laid over on her side. What exists is a very tenuous relationship between English soldiers and English pirates in a land under the rule of Spain.

It becomes the perfect template for intrigue, accusations, suspicion, betrayal and all of the hobgoblin emotions that crop up between two opposing forces.

Of course it could be argued, and rightfully so, that we are taking considerable license, but like many pirate festivals we are merely acting out an historical fiction. We are trying to be as accurate to the period, as faithful to history and as true to ourselves as we can be. We hope to be both period and aesthetic enough for our own enjoyment and satisfaction as well as the education and entertainment of our visitors.

The individual kits, tents, costuming and extras being supplied for the overall camp fall under the direct discretion of the crew members individually, and in some cases, collectively. This is the first year of the 1720 Mercury Careening Camp. I am certain that an evolution will follow.

Again, thank you for the many examples and opinions sited herein.

-William Brand

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Diego brought up the idea of mending nets once at a festival in California.  I know that it is a careening camp, but could we feasibly have someone mending a net, and has anyone ever done so?

Netting and net mending are quite simple, depending upon which knot you choose to be using. I often teach netting with the museum [since we don't just focus on pirates]. The technique I use and the netting needle I use are broadly appropriate as far back as the vikings in Newfoundland, so should be appropriate for the GAoP as well, but folks will want to check it.

One typical knot:

netmending_A.gif

And a needle design for something "personally made" rather than bought:

989.18.1.jpg

image5_7_1.jpg

Me, I prefer the French Hitch knot for netting, as it is simple, easy to do even in the dark below decks, and is easy to teach. Also called the Ring Hitch, you can see it here. And at the bottom here:

caljsiol_sio1ca175_081_019.gif

Whew!

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Regarding Oar Making...

My current plan is to drive down to PIPfrom NYC. I have a Mini School Bus (which will be running on WVO-Waste Vegetable Oil{but that it for another thread!}). The Mini School bus has a HUGE roof section. I am a boat builder and a wood worker...

Does anyone see where I am going with this?

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Regarding Oar Making...

My current plan is to drive down to PIPfrom NYC. I have a Mini School Bus (which will be running on WVO-Waste Vegetable Oil{but that it for another thread!}). The Mini School bus has a HUGE roof section. I am a boat builder and a wood worker...

Does anyone see where I am going with this?

I love you.

Platonically.

Are you bringing a boat? Say that you are bringing a boat.

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Platonically accepted.

I do plan to have that little "Black Seal" boat (13' gaffer) along with me. I wish I had a way to bring two... it would be a blast to tear around in 'em.

So, what length oars are needed and how many sets? (4 per tent I imagine. and what of ridge poles?)

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I was thinking about building a sea chest to transport all of my stuff to PiP.... but a few problems pop up....

and

Now that We can get it there how do we build or buy one?

I have mentioned elswhere in this Pub, that I am a woodworker. A Ship's Carver & Carpenter specifically. I would like nothing better than to reproduce some Sturdy & Inexpensive (Good & Cheap) Sea Chests that are VISUALLY as accurate as possible, but are able to be "knocked down" for flat shipment. I can envision bundling a number of these in a single box and shipping them ahead of us, with Harry's permission of course. They could be re-assembled on sight with a screwdriver and plugs to hide the hardware. I can even individually carve a crewmember's name into each.

What I lack is accurate "original" images from which to make my copy. I have historical examples of sea chests... Viking, Medieval, Napolianic, etc. but can anyone point me to what you might want for the Mercury circa 1720?

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The subject has been discussed in many threads. For example...

http://pyracy.com/forums/index.php?showtop...ea%20chest&st=0

Some of my personal favorites may be found here...

http://www.marlinespike.com/sea_chests.html

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Ah, the Search function... which always seems to fail me in my moment of need. Perhaps I need more Java and a new script.

Thanks you very kindly for the lead. I will be working up a prototype and I will post for your comments (and target practice) B)

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Regarding Oar Making...

My current plan is to drive down to PIPfrom NYC. I have a Mini School Bus (which will be running on WVO-Waste Vegetable Oil{but that it for another thread!}). The Mini School bus has a HUGE roof section. I am a boat builder and a wood worker...

Does anyone see where I am going with this?

Hmmm any chance, being an old NY myself, but currently living just outside Charlottesville, Va, you might need a place to sleep over, free, and pick up some tents and gallows?? B)

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100 Days till PiP

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Hmmm any chance, being an old NY myself, but currently living just outside Charlottesville, Va, you might need a place to sleep over, free, and pick up some tents and gallows??

I would love to help, but we will be doing the Eastern Shore Run... you might be a bit out of the way, but let's see how much room we have and which route we will actually take. If I can, I will.

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One thing that must be added to any well prepared, period encampment is HEMP. Manila rope is fine in a pinch, as is cotton canvas for tents, but you can't beat hemp. First, the hemp rope is softer and stronger and it doesn't tear up your hands. You can get pretty small cordage and still have a really strong line with hemp. I've raised a tent for a three day event using basic crafting size line, thought a good quarter inch cord or bigger is better. I've slowly replaced almost all of the manila in my camp and it simply looks so much better and weathers well. With the proper care, you can also wash hemp line easier than most rope. It also has a very distinct, old world look and feel to it. Less of the 'I just picked this up at Home Depot' look.

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William -

What hemp are you using? I ordered 1/4 and 1/2 through Hemp Basics in NJ but it is a multi-ply weave and the ends must be wipped and splices most difficult.

Jas. Hook ;)

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I've bought hemp all over, including Hemp Traders, Turkey Foot and some craft stores. A lot of the ropes need splicing and you get varying softness from one to another, but they get more pliable over time either way, whereas manila just tends to become more brittle.

http://www.turkeyfootllc.com/Hemproducts.html

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