Pirate Ships

Any type of vessel could
become a pirate ship. The
largest were of the same
size and power as small
frigates, while the smallest
might be a 4-gun schooner.

"The Golden Age of Sail"
often refers to the time
period in the early 18th
century when well-known
pirates such as Edward
Teach (Blackbeard) and
Bartholomew Roberts were
preying on mercantile ships,
and sometimes even blockading ports, around the world.

The Age of Sail was a period in which international trade and naval warfare were dominated by sailing ships. This is a significant period during which square-rigged sailing ships carried European settlers to many parts of the world in one of the most important human migrations in recorded history.

Like most periodic eras the definition is inexact and close enough to serve as a general description. The age of sail runs roughly from the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, the last significant engagement in which oar-propelled galleys played a major role, to the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862, in which the steam-powered CSS Virginia destroyed the sailing ships USS Cumberland and USS Congress, finally culminating with the advance of steam power, rendering sail power obsolete.

Sailing ships continued to be an economical way to transport cargo on long voyages into the 1920s. However sailing vessels were pushed into narrower and narrower economic niches, and gradually disappeared from commercial trade. Today, sailing vessels are only economically viable for small scale coastal fishing, along with recreational uses such as yachting and passenger sail excursion ships.

Ships Of The World - Click To Enlarge