Surrender the Booty – Pirate High Seas Tactics

March 21, 2012

Song of the Day: Save Yourself by Stabbing Westward

Click to pre-order your copy!

In A Kiss in the Wind (release date March 26th!), pirate captain Blade Tyburn engages in not one, but two sea battles. Really, what’s a pirate adventure without some live action?  However, did you know that pirates often avoided going into battle?

Sure, pirates are known for their pillaging, plundering and rioting. But when chasing down ships under sail, pirates preferred tactical strategy over a blood-fest.

Once the pirates spotted a potential prize, they shadowed the quarry, following them for hours, and sometimes even days. They did this to determine several things—what country the ship sailed under, where the ship was headed, how fast could she sail, and was the vessel well-armed.  How did they determine all this? By being bad ass, of course.  These men made it their business to be experienced in the seas they prowled, became knowledgeable of the trade routes, and by having rats, er, informants staked along in ports.

Armed with this intelligence, the pirate crew voted on whether they wanted to take the ship or let her pass.  Should they decide a ship was a worthy prize, they still didn’t attack. Engaging in battle was the last thing they wanted. What good was a prize if she was damaged, or worse, sinking? And no one wanted to die, right? Pirates relied on the elements of speed, surprise, and gotchas!

First, they might show their colors, meaning hoisting their jolly roger. If that didn’t get the knees a-knockin’, they’d fire a single warning shot across the ship’s bow. You’d think that would be enough. Unfortunately there were some stubborn fools. So pirates would resort to vapouring techniques meant to terrorize victims into surrendering. Fierce shouts and fearsome threats, lively battle music, and brandishing weapons were usually quire effective. Giving up the goods spared lives. But those who resisted, well, they were shown no quarter.

If you were encountered by a pirate ship, when would you surrender? Or would you fight until the death?

Me? I’d probably try to use my feminine wiles to outsmart them. LOL!