The Anatomy of a Wooden Ship: Part 2- The Masts

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Built in 1784 and acquired by the British Royal Navy in 1787 for a botanical mission, the HMS Bounty was sent to the Pacific Ocean under the command of Captain William Bligh to acquire breadfruit for transport to the British West Indies. But the mission was never completed due to a mutiny led by acting Lieutenant Fletcher Christian in an incident known as the Mutiny on the Bounty. Christian, the mutineers, and their native allies would later burn the Bounty after mooring it on Pitcarin Island.

Well, we’re off to a good start in this series. While the sails make the ship go with the wind, they’d fly of the ship if they weren’t strung to long, tall masts. These are tall poles erected more or less vertically on the ship’s centerline. These are meant to carry sails and spars while giving necessary height to a navigation light, look-out position, signal yard, or signal mast. Large wooden ships had several of these with size and configuration depending on their styles. Until the mid-19th century, all ship’s masts were made out of wood formed from a single or several pieces of timber, mainly consisting of a conifer tree trunk. From the 16th century, ships were often built of a size requiring taller and thicker masts than could be made from a single tree trunk. On these larger ships, to achieve the necessary height, the masts were built from up to 4 sections (also called masts), known in order of rising height above the decks as the lower, top, topgallant, and royal masts. Giving the lower sections sufficient thickness necessitated building up separate wood pieces. Such section was known as a made mast as oppose to masts formed by single pieces of timber known as pole masts.

The Masts and Poles:

Bibb- a wooden bracket supporting trestle trees.

Bonaventure Mizzenmast- small and furthest from the mizzenmast that’s often seen on larger galleons.

Boom- a horizontal pole along the mast’s bottom edge to where it’s fastened. Used for holding and extending the sail as well as changing its direction.

Cap- wooden mast top through which the mast is drawn when being stepped or lowered. Often made of elm.

Crow’s Nest- a small platform near the top of a mast, sometimes enclosed, where a lookout could have a better view when watching for sails or land.

Crosstree- a light oak timber spreader fixed across the trestle trees at the lower mast and top mast’s upper ends. Supported the topmast and topgallant mast shrouds.

Fid- a bar of wood or iron taking the topmast weight when it’s stepped on the lower mast. When a topmast hole corresponds with one in the lower mast, the fid is driven through to hold them together.

Fish- a wood piece, somewhat resembling a fish, used to strengthen a mast or yard.

Forebitt- post for fastening cables at ship’s foremast.

Foremast- the ship’s front mast located nearest to the bow.

Futtock Plates- plates of wood or iron where topmast shroud deadeyes were secured.

Gaff- a swinging spar where the head of a 4-sided fore-and-aft sail is attached and used to extend it away from a mast supporting it. When a gaff is hoisted, it carries up the sail with it. Normally takes 2 halyards to hoist a gaff-rigged sail.

Gooseneck- a fitting attaching the boom to a mast of fore-and-aft rigged ship, allowing the boom to swing sideways. Or the join between the whipstaff and the tiller.

Heel- the mast’s lower end. Also the keel’s back end.

Hoop- wooden ring securing a sail’s luff to a mast that slide up and down when it’s hoisted or lowered in a fore-and-aft rigged ship.

Horn- fixture securing a gaff to a mast but could slide up or down.

Hound- a large timber support bracket location directly below the masthead that supports the trestle trees and top.

Jack-Cross-Tree- a single iron cross-tree at a topgallant mast’s head.

Jack Staff- a short staff at ship’s bow from which the jack is hoisted.

Jackstay- an iron or wooden bar running along ship’s yard to which the sails are fastened.

Jackyard- spar used to spread the foot of a gaff-topsail.

Jib Stick- a spar used to hold out the jib when sailing almost directly downwind or in light airs when the jib may otherwise flap or collapse. The outboard end may have a U shape to take the jib to take a jib sheet or a point to go into the clew. The inboard end may be fastened or held at some convenient point such as a side stay or a purpose made fitting.

Jury Mast- a temporary or makeshift mast erected whenever the mainmast had been destroyed.

Lower Mast- the main mast body rising up from a ship and the complete mast’s first division.

Lubber’s Hole- the floor opening of the fore, main, and mizzen mast tops of square-rigged ships, giving access to the topmasts from below.

Main or main mast- the longest and primary mast located at the ship’s middle. On a 2-masted ship, it’s always the tallest mast.

Mast- a large vertical pole set in a ship used to attach further yards and spars to carry sails. A mast is taken through the hole in the decks and fitted onto the keelson step.

Made Mast- a mast made in sections from separate pieces of timber.

Mast Cheek- one of a pair of support brackets directly below the masthead’s trestle trees.

Masthead- mast top.

Mast Step- an often-strengthened socket used to take the mast’s downward thrust and hold it in position. May be on the keel or the deck on a smaller ship.

Mizzenmast- usually the third and/or furthest mast on a square-rigged ship or a 3 masted schooner. Also the furthest mast on a 2-masted ship like a ketch or yawl.

Pole-Mast- an uninterrupted single spar mast. Has no topmast nor topgallant mast.

Royalmast- the mast next above the topgallant mast and the fourth division of a complete mast.

Sheer Pole- a horizontal rod parallel to ratlines attached to the shrouds’ base just above the deadeyes to keep shrouds from twisting while they were being set up and tensioned.

Spar- a wooden pole used for supporting the rigging and sails such as a boom, gaff, yard, mast, or bowsprit.

Spreader- a metal bar used in a square-rigged ship’s foremast to give more spread to the fore sails’ tacks.

Sprit- a long spar stretching diagonally across a fore-and-aft sail to support the peak.

Top or fighting top- a masthead platform used to extend the topmast shrouds to provide the topmast additional support. Early tops were often enclosed and basket-like while later tops were always open. Was a great platform for look-out and for snipers and archers to take aim from.

Topgallant Mast or l’gallant- the mast above the topmast on a square-rigged ship. The third division of a complete mast.

Topmast- the mast above the lower mast. The second division of a complete mast. Highest mast in a fore-and-aft rigged ship.

Trestle Tree- oak timbers horizontally fixed back and forth on a lower and upper masthead of a square-rigged ship. Used to support the topmast or topgallant mast, the lower and upper crosstrees, and the top. Normally rests on the lower mast’s cheeks or a topmast’s hounds.

Truck- a wooden top of a mast, staff, or flag pole.

Vangs- braces supporting the mizzen mast gaff to keep it steady. Connected to the gaff’s outer end, they reach downwards to the ship’s furthest side, where they’re hooked and fashioned. They’re slackened when the wind is fair and drawn in when the gaff’s position is unfavorable to the ship’s course.

Yard – a long tapering spar on a square-rigged ship slung to a mast and spread the head of a square sail, lugsail, or lateen and forward from the shrouds. Each square sail hangs from its own yard. Seamen furl the sails by bending over the yard as they use both hands hauling the sail. The sail is trimmed to the wind by braces leading from the yard arms back or forward to another mast or down to the deck.

Yardarm- the main yard across the mast holding up the sail or either end of the yard on a square sail. The yardarm is a vulnerable target in combat and a favorite place to hang prisoners or enemies. Also a yard’s outward end.

The Anatomy of a Wooden Ship: Part 1- The Sails

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Here is a painting of the USS Constitution, affectionately known as “Old Ironsides,” due to its prowess during the War of 1812 where it defeated 5 British warships. Built in the 1790s, this heavily armed frigate is the world’s oldest commissioned naval ship that’s still afloat. Though today it sits in Boston Harbor as a museum piece taking part in ceremonies, educational programs and historic reenactments with a US Navy crew of 60.

You see these ships in hit swashbuckling pirate movie as they float like castles on the waves with their intricate wooden facades and graceful sails blowing in the wind. But while movies tend to glamorize life on a wooden ship as full of glorious naval engagements, swashbuckling pirates, bold explorers, and trips to exotic islands with either nubile native women or cannibals, the reality of living on these ships wasn’t as fun as movies make it out to be. For one, life on a wooden ship often included bad food filled with weevils, unsanitary conditions, nasty diseases, rat infestations, lots of shit, hours of boredom, horrifying injuries and medical care, sexism, classism, and not a woman in sight. Not to mention, voyages could last years, punishments were harsh with keelhauling or flogging, lots of drinking and impressment, and other hellish things. Oh, and the pirates, well, they’re basically gangsters raiding merchant ships who were drunks who didn’t bathe or shave for months and were more often than not riddled with STDs and bad teeth. From the early modern period to the mid-19th century, wooden sailing ships dominated the waves in an era called The Age of Sail. Harnessing the power of winds and current, these ships helped kick start an age of exploration, globalization, colonialism, international trade, great naval battles, smallpox, racism, and slavery. Yet, even so, we all muse about the glorious sailing ships across the sea in their full sail glory while the men onboard seem to have a knack for adventure.

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The HMS Victory was launched in 1765 and is first rate ship of the line with its 104 guns. It’s best known as Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson’s flagship during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 which has gone down in history as one of Great Britain’s greatest Royal Navy victories. While the Victory survived the battle since it’s been on drydock as a museum ship since 1922, Lord Nelson did not.

I kick off this wooden ship series with the defining sails from a wooden sailing ship. And boy, did these ships have a ton of them tied to the masts and help propel the ship with the wind. Now sailing along the water has been around at least since the 6th millennium BCE with archaeological remains found from excavations into Cucuteni-Trypillian culture and of the Ubaid period in Mesopotamia. Ancient Egyptians and Sumerians used square rig boats as early 3200 BCE and it’s believed they established sea trading routes as far as the Indus Valley. Yet, for much of ancient times and the medieval period, many of the large sailing ships were man-powered galleys a la Ben Hur. Triangular fore-and-aft rig were invented in the Mediterranean as single-yarded lateen sails and began as a convention in southern Europe as the gentle climate made its use practical. And in a few centuries in Italy before the Renaissance, it began replacing the square rig which had dominated Europe since the dawn of sea travel. Yet, despite having seen it in trade and during the Crusades, Northern Europeans were resistant to adopting the fore-and-aft rig. But the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration changed this. From 1475, their use increased and within a century, the fore-and-aft rig was commonly used on boats on rivers and estuaries in Britain, northern France, and Low Countries. Though square rigs remain standard for harsher conditions of the open North Sea as well as in trans-Atlantic sailing. Yet, even those had some fore-and-aft sails for navigational purposes.

The Sails:

Bonnet- extra canvas strip fixed to the foot of a fore-and-aft sail.

Bunt- middle of a square sail.

Clew- corner sail with hole attached to ropes.

Course Sail- the largest and lowest square sail on a mast.

Cringle- a sail’s corner loop where lines are attached.

Cross Jack- the lowest square sail or the mizzen mast’s lower yard.

Drabler- an additional ship canvas attached to the bonnet’s foot of a fore-and-aft sail.

Driver- a large sail suspended from the mizzen gaff. Can also be a jib-headed spanker.

Flying Jib- the outermost triangular fore-and-aft sail. Extends beyond the jib and is carried on a stay attached to a flying jib-boom.

Foot- a sail’s bottom edge.

Fore-and-Aft-Sail- a triangular sail behind mast, attached to a gaff and boom parallel with a keel.

Foresail- lowest sail set on the foremast on a square-rigged ship.

Gaff-Topsail- a triangular topsail with its foot extended upon the gaff.

Genoa- a large jib overlapping the mainsail.

Head- top edge of a 4-sided sail. Can also be the area in front of the forecastle and beak. May be proper term for a ship’s toilet.

Headsail- sail set forward of the ship’s foremast.

Jackyard Topsail- a triangular topsail set above the mainsail in a gaff-rigged ship.

Jib- a small triangular fore-and-aft sail carried on a stay near the ship’s front stretching from the top foremast to the bow or bowsprit.

Lateen Sail- a triangular fore-and-aft sail, set on a long yard at an angle to a relatively short mast. Sometimes supported with boom.

Leech- a square sail’s vertical edge and a fore-and-aft sail’s afterside.

Loose-Footed- a fore-and-aft sail set without a boom such as most jibs.

Luff- a fore-and-aft sail’s leading forward edge. Also to bring a ship’s bow closer to the wind, usually to decrease the headsails’ power.

Lugsail-a quadrilateral sail lacking a boom, has a foot larger than the head, and is bent to a yard hanging obliquely on the mast.

Main Sail- the ship’s principal and largest sail. In square-rigged ships, it’s the lowest sail on the Main Mast.

Mizzen- sail behind or on top the ship’s main sail. Can also be a 3-masted ship.

Moonraker- a small light sail set above the skysail on a square-rigged ship.

Peak- the upper far corner of a four-sided, gaff-rigged, fore-and-aft sail.

Reef Band- an extra canvas strip attached across a sail to strengthen it where the reef points are located.

Roach- curved cut in sail’s edge to prevent chafing.

Royal- a small sail on a royal mast just above the topgallant sail. Normally the fourth sail in ascending order from the deck.

Sail- a cloth or canvas piece or combination of pieces cut and sewn together to the desired shape and size attached to a ship’s spars and/or rigging. Used for catching wind and propelling the ship. Often repaired at sea or at anchor in a secluded bay thousands of miles from home. Could be quite a patchwork of different material pieces.

Skysail- a small square sail above the royal on a square-rigged ship. Normally the fifth sail in the ascending order from the deck.

Skyscraper- triangular sail above the skysail in fair weather.

Spanker- a fore-and-aft sail on the aftermost mast, bent with a gaff and boom.

Spinnaker- a large triangular sail opposite the main sail.

Sprit Sail- a square or fore-and-aft sail extended by a sprit.

Square Sail- a four-sided sail set from a yard and hanging symmetrically across the mast.

Stay Sail- a triangular fore-and-aft sail set by attaching it to a stay.

Studding Sails- square sails rigged to extra yards that are lashed and extra further out from the primary yards. Typically extended the width of the sails on a square-rigged ship.

Stun Sail- a light auxiliary sail to the principal sails’ sides.

Tack- the lower forward corner of a fore-and-aft sail. Can be the rope used to hold the lower course corners and staysails on the weather side of a square-rigged ship or a line used to pull a studding sail’s lower corner to its boom. Or can be to change course on a ship by shifting the helm and sails’ position.

Throat- the upper foremost corner of a fore-and-aft sail.

Topgallant Sail- the sail set above the topsail and third sail in the ascending order from deck on a square-rigged mast. Later 19th century ships may carry a lower topgallant sail and an upper topgallant sail.

Topsail- a square sail set above the lowest sail on the mast of a square-rigged ship and is the second sail in ascending order from the deck. Can also be a triangular or square sail set above the gaff of a lower sail on a fore-and-aft-rigged ship. But while it’s usually the second sail in ascending order from deck on a fore-and-aft rigged ship, it can sometimes be the third.

Trysail- a small fore-and-aft sail used during storm conditions and placed instead of the regular sail. Usually hoisted on a lower mast.

Welcome Aboard to the Maritime World of Boats

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Whether to get across a large body of water, fish, or just to cruise around, boats have always been with us. From the small paddle boats to the humongous cruise ships across the ocean, you’ll find plenty of all shapes and sizes. This is especially the case during the summer. At that time you’ll find rowboats, canoes, and kayaks on the rivers, lakes, and streams. While you may see sailboats and yachts on the oceans. Other boats include cargo ships, fishing boats, house boats, barges, tugboats, motorboats, gondolas, and pontoon boats. However, some of these boats you see on the water can be quite unusual these days, which is where I come in. So for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasure trove of boats that’ll make you scratch your heads if you saw them floating by.

  1. Bet you didn’t know a boat can have wings.

It’s actually a hovercraft with glider features. And by the way, they normally can’t fly unlike what you’d see in the Hunger Games.

2. If you’re an old timey spy, this boat might suit you.

It’s an old-fashioned amphibious vehicle. You’ll see a few of these on this post. Yet, this one resembles what you’d see in a 1960s spy movie.

3. You can go far on the water with this sneaker.

Yes, this is a giant shoe boat. And it seems like it has a motor inside it. Need I say more?

4. Now you don’t need to leave the lake if you want to soak into a hot tub.

Sure it’s impossible to make a hot tub time machine. But jacuzzi boats exist which looks quite strange, indeed.

5. Never thought I’d see a pumpkin boat before.

From what I see, I think they have a race involving these enormous pumpkin boats. Wonder what they use to make them so huge. Gamma rays?

6. While hotdogs normally get soggy in water, may I make an exception?

And this one is made of metal while equipped with a motor. Wonder if it serves hotdogs to boat racers.

7. Sometimes you just have to choose an unusual picnic spot.

Though having one on the water is kind of a stretch. But I guess you can always attach logs for buoyancy.

8. A motor boat must always make an impression.

This one is painted in bright red and yellow. So you can see it from miles away.

9. Perhaps a small, sleek, geometric boat might suit you.

Though it’s only available in black. And you most likely can’t afford it.

10. If you want a more naturalistic houseboat, we’ve got you covered.

This one seems to resemble a small cave home. Though I’m sure the rock facade is fake.

11. All you need to make a boat is a motor and a large dining room table.

Well, that seems to work for some reason. But not exactly the ideal boat most people would have in mind.

12. How about a tiki bar on the water?

It’s a pontoon boat with a bar, deck chairs, and artificial grass. You can even try to play golf on it.

13. Need a lift from the lake? This is the boat for you.

Yet, another boat that can fly. This one combines a small motor boat and an ultralight plane.

14. Let’s hope nobody runs into a pirate ship in traffic.

It’s an amphibious pirate ship, all right. But don’t worry, they only rob tractor trailer trucks.

15. When you’re stuck on the river’s shore, a truck bed boat comes in handy.

Indeed, you’ll find quite of few boats people made themselves in this post. This consists of a bed from an old Dodge.

16. Well, never saw a fly that big on the water before.

Well, it’s a large zipper fly. But it runs on water, not on teeth.

17. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the hamma kayak.

This is one consists of a hammock and a kayak. But unlike most kayaks, it has shade.

18. Perhaps you’d like a small cottage on the water.

It’s just a small house on a barge. Still, it’s rather quaint.

19. This seems to give a fishing boat a whole new meaning.

Well, it’s a literal fish boat. But it’s seems more suited for the winter weather as you can see.

20. Whether on ice or water, best take an Arctic Ant.

It’s also known as a hydrocopter. And it’s a boat suited for adverse conditions as far as I know.

21. Got a shit load of cans? Make a boat out of it.

Though it’ll take a lot of cans. And make sure they’re washed and dried before assembly.

22. Now that’s what I call a recreational vehicle.

Indeed, most people can’t go on the water in an RV. But this is an exception, apparently.

23. Want to fly from the water? Just add wings.

I know this is another boat the flies. But I’m not sure if the wings did the trick in this case.

24. Perhaps you want to ride the waves in comfort.

This one has a couch on a pontoon. And it seems this family is enjoying themselves.

25. Apparently, a giant guitar makes a great floatation device.

This large guitar may not make a great instrument. But it’s perfect for a hipster’s boat trip across the river.

26. You’d find this small boat almost transparent.

And yes, it’s certainly made of plastic. But you can what’s underneath the water on the floor.

27. This boat operates on paddle power.

Seems like it’s a boat with an exercise machine. But the machine powers the boat.

28. With this boat, it’s some assembly required.

It’s a boat kit boat. Includes oars, rudder, and something resembling a motor, apparently.

29. You’ll find this boat out of the blue.

Since it’s mostly blue without it. But I don’t think it blends in the sky.

30. You’d almost assume this boat was folded.

It’s based on Japanese origami design. And I hope it’s not made out of real paper.

31. An amphibious vehicle should always have the right varnish.

It’s a car boat made out of wood. And for some reason actually seems to work.

32. Speaking of amphibious vehicles, this red boat car is state of the art.

Indeed, you probably cant’ afford it. But it’s quite stunning on the water.

33. Care for music on the water?

As you can see, this guy has his instruments all laid out. While his boat is painted in all kinds of colors. Don’t ask if he has weed.

34. A houseboat should always be one’s castle.

However, I don’t think medieval house boats looked like that. Since they’d more likely be made of wood and have sails.

35. I guess this car boat is used for safari tours.

Though it doesn’t seem to offer much protection. Since you can stick your head out the windows.

36. You’d almost think this car boat has Formula 1 caliber.

Since this boat seems to resemble a race car. But it works well in land or on the water.

37. Perhaps you may prefer a fancy wooden ship.

Yet, this seems to take the notion to unrealistic proportions. I mean real wooden ships were never that colorful.

38. Wonder how well you can row a cup.

This is seen as a coffee cup boat. And yes, it includes a saucer.

39. Behold, I give you the Cosmic Muffin.

I know it resembles a space shuttle you’d see on Star Trek. But it’s a boat recycled from a Howard Hughes plane.

40. If you want to stand out, a boat like this might do the trick.

What is that large black thing on the front of it? Is it a loudspeaker? Or something else?

41. You got to pedal hard to move a waterwheel.

Well, it’s a paddle wheel more or less. And there’s really not much room on it either.

42. This Earth Race boat will come in handy for supervillains.

Because it seems exactly like the boat you’d imagine Lex Luthor to have. And yes, it seems rather menacing.

43. If you’re stranded on a deserted island, why I have a boat for you.

It mostly consists of a tent on a sail raft. Then again, in some deserted island situations, this might not be feasible.

44. Perhaps you might want a boat in pink.

Yes, it’s the kind of boat you’d imagine Barbie to have. But this one is life size and way more expensive.

45. Aaaah! Shark!

Don’t worry. it’s just a shark submarine. Still, it looks really cool.

46. I give you the royal swan boat.

While swan boats exist, they’re nothing compared to this boat. Wonder if it’s a ferry.

47. This marlin seems to have a lot to say.

Not sure if I can make out the words. But this fish boat seems to have whimsical quality to it.

48. Hope you can get a load of these fly boats.

These are quite small compared to the other fly boats I’ve shown. Yet, they must be a sight to behold in the sky.

49. Check out this foot print boat across the water.

Of course, this kind of resembles something you’d see from a sci-fi shoe or movie. Yet, it doesn’t impress onlookers.

50. I’m sure you can enjoy a gazebo anywhere.

Well, it’s more like a gazebo house boat. But at least it includes a nice porch to fish from.

51. To keep up with the times, a boat car needs a sleek design.

If it was just a road car, it would’ve been considerably cheaper. Since it seems to resemble a slightly more expensive sedan.

52. Someone’s yacht must come with a glass top.

Yet, another sci-fi looking boat on the water. Seems like one Padme would vacation in on Naboo.

53. Sometimes it helps to rest on the water in style.

This one has a high chair with empty plastic barrels. Would be perfect for any lifeguard.

54. Never thought I’d see a houseboat like this before.

It seems to resemble an actual house with siding. Though it includes 2 decks and ladders.

55. You’d think this house boat came from a junk yard.

Well, it’s made from an old bus and other parts. But you can see how it can fit in a house boat design.

56. This house boat has some rather tropical luxury accommodations.

This one is more suited for island areas near the Equator. But the roof almost makes it seem like it’s somewhat affordable.

57. Where are the sails on this thing?

You have to wonder about that. Still, what are those tall things supposed to be? I can’t even imagine.

58. Perhaps this boat can be a bridge on the waterways.

Heard this is called a Proteus ship. Yet, it’s the kind of boat with its own jet skis, apparently.

59. With this camper, you can have your site on water or land.

Well, that’s one way to make a house boat. Still, don’t forget to have chairs for a patio.

60. Sometimes it helps if you raise the trailer up a bit.

Yet, another redneck house boat. And one that can really use a paint job since it’s quite rusty.

61. A boat of reeds can surely float.

Though it appears rather flammable if you ask me. Still, the figurehead is quite cute.

62. This rowboat operates on solar power.

You’d think she wouldn’t need oars for a solar powered boat. But you’d be wrong.

63. May I give you the Sea Shadow.

This is supposed to be the naval equivalent to a stealth plane. Though it seems like the kind of boat you’d imagine Darth Vader using.

64. Oh, my God, it’s a Orca on the shore!

Actually it’s an orca submarine. And yes, it can jump out of the water.

65. This boat runs with the sun.

And yet, this boat is made by the genius company behind the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. And that is why I oppose offshore oil drilling.

66. Looks like these settlers decided to row across the river.

Sadly, after their crossing, Brad would later fall ill and die of dysentery. He will be missed.

67. I dub thee the HMS Wooden Subby.

Yes, it’s supposed to be a wooden submarine. But no, I don’t think it was present during the Battle of Trafalgar.

68. You’d almost think someone was living inside a nut.

It’s actually a weirdly designed houseboat. And yes. it even has a window.

69. This boat seems to have a rather Dutch disposition.

It’s a clog boat with tulips painted on it. Must’ve been made in the Netherlands.

70. This gives a whole new meaning to the word, “duck boat.”

It’s a boat resembling a duck. But please don’t pay attention to the windows and marks on it.

71. A boat will ride like the wind with a wind turbine.

Though it may not travel very far. But it does have a homespun look to it.

72. Perhaps a modern windmill boat may suit you.

And this one is mainly used as a sail. And yet, sticks out like a sore eye.

73. A wooden boat should always be one of good taste.

This one even has 2 decks and a porch. Yet, it’s best not to leave any fires on it alone for too long.

74. Perhaps a simple wooden boat will suit your fancy.

This one even has wooden cabins and windows. Quaint for relaxing on a Sunday afternoon.

75. I almost thought it was a cruise ship.

It’s actually a small boat that can only fit one guy. Yet, it’s quite lovely to look at.

76. Behold, the Nautlimo.

It’s a pink limo on the water. So you can travel on the river in style.

77. You’d almost think it’s a canned truck.

This one has a pink cross on the side. Not to mention, it has tires to act as wheels on the water.

78. Care to cruise in a muscle car?

It’s a 1950’s style car boat. And you can drive it on land or water.

79. Got a bike with large tires? Make a boat out of it.

You’ll have to row it. But you can rest your head on the rubber and paint the flowers on the tires.

80. Children would love a treehouse on the river.

Yes, they seem quite happy. Yet, I wonder what the tree house could fit in.

81. Got plastic bottles? Make a boat out of them.

Well, at least these people made something constructive out of this junk. And I’m sure it’ll last for years.

82. Boat or a resort home?

It’s more of a yacht that has a house on top. Includes trees and a deck.

83. You can’t have a well-dressed boat without curtain.

And yes, the curtains are on the top. What they’re used for, I don’t know.

84. A fancy boat should always include windows.

Yes, it does resemble a piece of bad architecture. But it’s a sleek metal boat from Russia.

85. Wouldn’t you want to fish in comfort?

This one has a comfy chair on a barrel barge. But someone has their fishing rods on the edge.

86. Don’t like scuba diving but like to see what’s underwater? This EGO Submarine boat is for you.

This is a personal-semi-submarine. Expensive but quite cool to look at.

87. “We all live in a yellow submarine…”

When I saw one of these in Google Images, I had to include it. Ironically, it’s in Liverpool.

88. Anyone would flip over this dolphin submarine.

Though I wonder how big it is compared to a dolphin. Still, looks kind of cool.

89. So I guess there’s a biblical flood looming.

Don’t worry, it’s some Dutch guy’s replica of Noah’s Ark. Sadly it doesn’t have any unicorns.

90. Even you can put solar panels on your boat.

And yes, they’re well suited for powering boats, too. Though the sun isn’t as effective as gasoline.

91. You’d find this wooden house boat quite charming.

Well, it’s rather small. But includes a deck, ladder, and windows.

92. Now you can have your own Viking long ship.

I know it’s kind of a home made attempt. Still, I hope the monastery nearby has a high tech security system.

93. You can go anywhere on the water in this red boat.

It’s of redneck design by the way. Though it almost seems like someone spent a fortune on it.

94. You’d almost mistake this boat for the Magic School Bus.

It’s actually a duck boat from London. And no, it can’t shrink and travel through your body.

95. Bet you can’t go across the river in a hydrocopter.

This one has blades on the bottom to move it along. But only room for a few.

96. Oh, no, the ship’s sinking! We’re sinking!

Actually, the boat was designed that way. The guy’s fine.

97. You’d think this house boat was futuristic.

It’s actually made from an old camper. And I don’t think it’s for sale.

98. This boat makes for a whale of a tale.

It’s a whale boat, get it. Nonetheless, it’s quite huge if you ask me.

99. Sometimes a simple boat house will do.

This is a pre-fab boat house. And it’s ultramodern as well as not quite fancy.

100. Looking at this boat, you’d wonder if your eyes hurt.

This one is painted in a bizarre pattern. Still, I’m sure onlookers would complain.

The Wonderful World of Regatta Floats

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Every year on the 4th of July the city Pittsburgh hosts an annual Three Rivers Regatta. Well, they had it this year except they didn’t feature the boat stuff since it had rained a lot lately and the water was too high. Besides, there was a lot of debris floating in the rivers anyway. But they kept the other stuff in. Still, technically a regatta is supposed to be a series of boat races usually pertaining to sail and row boats. It’s usually a competition among amateurs. But it’s a formally structured event with comprehensive rules describing the schedule and procedures. Nevertheless, most of them are done for fun. Still, take the boats out of the Three Rivers Regatta, and it’s not really a regatta at all. It’s just a 4th of July festival. Nevertheless, there all kinds of regattas depending on the type of boat or particular area with most taking place in the summer. You might have a regatta organized by the rich snooty yacht club consisting entitled Ivy League prep school brats on their row boats. But these I’ll show will pertain to boats that have a more creative or humorous spin to them. So without further adieu, here are some lovely regatta floats you might want to see.

1. Well, at least we know that the giant whale didn’t swallow anybody.

Still, I think this float looks quite awkward with  this boat not having the cover down the middle. Reminds me of a fish skeleton of some sort.

Still, I think this float looks quite awkward with this boat not having the cover down the middle. Reminds me of a fish skeleton of some sort.

2. So is this for the regatta or the air show?

Probably regatta because  highly doubt that this plane could fly. But whether it will float, I'll have to see for myself.

Probably regatta because highly doubt that this plane could fly. But whether it will float, I’ll have to see for myself. Hope it doesn’t get too wet.

3. All these people wanted was a nice raft with a cottage house covered with ivy.

“People navigate along the Lielupe river as they participate in the milk carton boat regatta in Jelgava August 30, 2014. Thirty eight teams used about 40,000 empty milk tetra packs to build rafts as part of the XIV International festival of milk, bread and honey.” from Reuters. Still, I wonder if that structure or the people on it will cause some accident of sorts.

4. All you need for a regatta float are a couple of barrels and a bathtub.

And I see they gave the bathtub a paint job. Not sure if that will help. Also, hope there's nothing in the barrels.

And I see they gave the bathtub a paint job. Not sure if that will help. Also, hope there’s nothing in the barrels.

5. Guess Cinderella has to leave the pirate ship party by midnight.

Hope Cinderella doesn't share a dance with Captain Morgan. Heard that guy really has a drinking problem. Then again, most Golden Age pirates were former sailors impressed while drunk at a tavern. Seriously, it's no wonder they loved their rum.

Hope Cinderella doesn’t share a dance with Captain Morgan. Heard that guy really has a drinking problem. Then again, most Golden Age pirates were former sailors impressed while drunk at a tavern. Seriously, it’s no wonder they loved their rum.

6. Seems like we have a man overboard with the large truck on a raft.

Well, at least he has a life jacket on so I hope he lands in the water. Didn't know they had a Sweet & Low upholstery service.

Well, at least he has a life jacket on so I hope he lands in the water. Didn’t know they had a Sweet & Low upholstery service.

7. For a regatta float: If you don’t have cardboard, then barrels and a trampoline will do.

Well, I'm not sure if bouncing on a trampoline is a good idea in a body of water. Of course, they're wise to have some safety procedures.

Well, I’m not sure if bouncing on a trampoline is a good idea in a body of water. Of course, they’re wise to have some safety procedures.

8. Got a swing set in your yard? Why not build a boat out of it?

And for a patriotic touch, they painted it red, white, and blue. Sure wonder whether they're using the swings.

And for a patriotic touch, they painted it red, white, and blue. Sure wonder whether they’re using the swings.

9. Now this is a manly kind of float that’s included with studio wrestling.

I don't know about you, but I'm not sure if engaging in WWE antics will help win the boat race. Perhaps these two should just spend more time rowing than fighting.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure if engaging in WWE antics will help win the boat race. Perhaps these two should just spend more time rowing than fighting.

10. Sure you can make a regatta float, but you can’t make one that might also serve as a tiki bar.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if this float was built in Hawaii. But, hey, at least these people have a roof over their heads. I just want to know the maximum weight.

Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if this float was built in Hawaii. But, hey, at least these people have a roof over their heads. I just want to know the maximum weight.

11. Nothing makes a better regatta float than one of a rat over raisins.

Okay, now this is quite disturbing. Not sure why anyone would want a rat float. Rats are disgusting vermin. And a giant one is the stuff of nightmares.

Okay, now this is quite disturbing. Not sure why anyone would want a rat float. Rats are disgusting vermin. And a giant one is the stuff of nightmares.

12. Looks like it’s a job for the water caterpillar.

Unlike real caterpillars, I'm sure this one helps with landscaping and construction in Atlantis. Then again, if it did, it would've been a submarine.

Unlike real caterpillars, I’m sure this one helps with landscaping and construction in Atlantis. Then again, if it did, it would’ve been a submarine.

13. There are regattas that have races for sail boats. Yet, some tend to go on with a ship.

Seems like a boat like this can go with sails and rows. Wonder why they have rope ladders to the masts.

Seems like a boat like this can go with sails and rows. Wonder why they have rope ladders to the masts.

14. Introducing team log jammer.

Wonder if they'll get to see their photos of themselves as they go down the waterfall portion. Like they have at Splash Mountain or Kennywood in my neck of the woods.

Wonder if they’ll get to see their photos of themselves as they go down the waterfall portion. Like they have at Splash Mountain or Kennywood in my neck of the woods.

15. You heard of the Batmobile. Well, prepare to meet the Batcanoe.

I'm sure the real Batcanoe would be far more impressive. But this kid looks quite cute rowing it.

I’m sure the real Batcanoe would be far more impressive. But this kid looks quite cute rowing it and it’ll probably stand a better chance of floating, too.

16. At the regatta, it helps if you spruce up your amphibious vehicle with an umbrella and flowers to give it a nice cozy feel.

Of course, with the color scheme, I would've sworn it was more suited as a construction vehicle. And find the flowers and umbrella a very odd decorating scheme, indeed.

Of course, with the color scheme, I would’ve sworn it was more suited as a construction vehicle. And find the flowers and umbrella a very odd decorating scheme, indeed.

17. Ahoy, mateys! Get on board the ol’ pumpkinship.

I think there's an actual regatta with pumpkin boats as far as I've seen on Google Images. Still, how they managed to find pumpkins this big to carve out, I'll never know.

I think there’s an actual regatta with pumpkin boats as far as I’ve seen on Google Images. Still, how they managed to find pumpkins this big to carve out, I’ll never know.

18. Of course, even a giant pencil can make a great canoe if you put in the effort.

Hope it doesn't run into the writing paper raft. Because any marks it leaves will leave to smudges if they're ever erased. Well, in some pencil boats anyway.

Hope it doesn’t run into the writing paper raft. Because any marks it leaves will leave to smudges if they’re ever erased. Well, in some pencil boats anyway.

19. You can always build a float out of barrels and piping if you set your mind to it.

Now I wonder who the hell thought of adding a canopy like that. Just seems quite alien to me. Then again, maybe it was designed by someone from another planet or galaxy.

Now I wonder who the hell thought of adding a canopy like that. Just seems quite alien to me. Then again, maybe it was designed by someone from another planet or galaxy.

20. When it comes to regatta floats, you can always decorate it as a 1950s hangout.

Let's hope nobody falls overboard during the sock hop. Because that certainly won't be cool, especially if it's a woman wearing a poodle skirt.

Let’s hope nobody falls overboard during the sock hop. Because that certainly won’t be cool, especially if it’s a woman wearing a poodle skirt. Love the LP decorations though and the pink.

21. Yes, your boat may be cool, but does it have its own waterslide?

Okay, not this looks like fun. Sure it's not a great photo since it's shown at a distance. But sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Okay, not this looks like fun. Sure it’s not a great photo since it’s shown at a distance. But sometimes you have to take what you can get.

22. It’s been said that beer cans tend to be the best material for boats for those who want to build one.

This might be from a beer can regatta in Australia which takes place around the Christmas season or before March. Still, if I saw that many beer cans to build a boat here, I'd wonder if any of the crew members have a drinking problem.

This might be from a beer can regatta in Australia which takes place around the Christmas season or before March. Still, if I saw that many beer cans to build a boat here, I’d wonder if any of the crew members have a drinking problem.

23. Oh, look there’s a shark and it wants to eat us!

Now I know this is a regatta float with a Jaws theme and I'm sure the shark isn't real. Still, I'm wondering if these kids are going need a bigger boat.

Now I know this is a regatta float with a Jaws theme and I’m sure the shark isn’t real. Still, I’m wondering if these kids are going need a bigger boat.

24. Now this regatta float theme is, a tribute to Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

Yes, a regatta float tribute to a great pilot of great competence and know how who became a hero of the Hudson. Still, I'm sure this won't fly though but who cares? It's the thought that counts.

Yes, a regatta float tribute to a great pilot of great competence and know how who became a hero of the Hudson. Still, I’m sure this won’t fly though but who cares? It’s the thought that counts.

25. We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine.

Of course, in a regatta float post like this, you should know that a yellow submarine float was coming. Still, I'd really would want a yellow submarine float picture from a different angle than this.

Of course, in a regatta float post like this, you should know that a yellow submarine float was coming. Still, I’d really would want a yellow submarine float picture from a different angle than this.

26. Now this regatta float was made possible by your neighborhood crazy cat ladies.

Let me guess, this float is manned by a bunch of middle aged to elderly women who are either lesbians or terminally single that they see cats like their own children. Then again, they could just be a bunch of cat hoarders who take in any feral feline they can find which is very much ill-advised.

Let me guess, this float is manned by a bunch of middle aged to elderly women who are either lesbians or terminally single that they see cats like their own children. Then again, they could just be a bunch of cat hoarders who take in any feral feline they can find which is very much ill-advised. But I really don’t want to be stereotypical here.

27. Like the ill-fated 1912 ship, this Titanic float seems headed for disaster.

But unlike the real disaster, there will probably be no major fatalities from this sinking. Of course, you have to be careful with cardboard, especially if you're on a boat made from that stuff.

But unlike the real disaster, there will probably be no major fatalities from this sinking. Of course, you have to be careful with cardboard, especially if you’re on a boat made from that stuff.

28. Of course, at any regatta event, you’re eventually bound to run into a pirate ship.

Of course, it's probably as an accurate rendition to a  Golden Age pirate ship as you see in the movies. Still, because of pirate movies, I'm sure these people have no idea what real Golden Age pirates actually did.

Of course, it’s probably as an accurate rendition to a Golden Age pirate ship as you see in the movies. Still, because of pirate movies, I’m sure these people have no idea what real Golden Age pirates actually did.

29. When it comes to river transportation, you can’t do better than double decker bus.

What's surprising about this float is that it's in a Canadian competition. Which is strange to me since I always associate red double decker buses with Great Britain. Then again Canada was once a British colony.

What’s surprising about this float is that it’s in a Canadian competition. Which is strange to me since I always associate red double decker buses with Great Britain. Then again Canada was once a British colony.

30. Now your regatta rowboat always needs an intimidating figure head. I’m not sure if this one cuts it.

Reminds me of a cartoon sketch in which a Viking is trying to buy a boat with a gruesome figurehead only to find that all the boats have cute little animals on them. However, unlike that sketch, I really think this duck head was intentional.

Reminds me of a cartoon sketch in which a Viking is trying to buy a boat with a gruesome figurehead only to find that all the boats have cute little animals on them. However, unlike that sketch, I really think this duck head was intentional.

31. These two pilots seem to be flying high in the open water.

Of course, while duct tape does make a great adhesive, it's also great for decoration on floats like these. Still, wish I can see the whole thing but photos can only fit so much.

Of course, while duct tape does make a great adhesive, it’s also great for decoration on floats like these. Still, wish I can see the whole thing but photos can only fit so much.

32. Big wheel, keep on turnin.’ Proud Mary keep on burnin.’ Rollin,’ rollin,’ rollin’ on the river.

And boy, what a big wheel it is that it seems so vastly out of proportion to the boat it's attached to. Seriously, look at the thing. It's freaking huge!

And boy, what a big wheel it is that it seems so vastly out of proportion to the boat it’s attached to. Seriously, look at the thing. It’s freaking huge!

33. Well, at least during the regatta, there will be an ambulance standing by in case of a boating accident.

Of course, I'm sure this float is too small for any real medical emergencies. Still, it's pretty clever. Not sure if it's from Great Britain though. Probably not.

Of course, I’m sure this float is too small for any real medical emergencies. Still, it’s pretty clever. Not sure if it’s from Great Britain though. Probably not.

34. Show your patriotic spirit at the regatta with this American flag raft.

Whoever did a raft like this has way better drawing and painting skills than I do. Still, at least they used crates and barrels.

Whoever did a raft like this has way better drawing and painting skills than I do. Still, at least they used crates and barrels.

35. Hate to know what’s coming out of that funky trailer truck smokestack.

Now this float is said to be sponsored by the local food bank. However, I think it's just a front for Willy Wonka. Seriously, no semi discharges smoke like that. Not in a million years.

Now this float is said to be sponsored by the local food bank. However, I think it’s just a front for Willy Wonka. Seriously, no trailer truck discharges smoke like that. Not in a million years.

36. Play the guitar? How about a guitar raft?

Yeah, I think this guitar really isn't for playing since it's derived from cardboard. But it's a pretty accurate rendition, artistically speaking, that is.

Yeah, I think this guitar really isn’t for playing since it’s derived from cardboard. But it’s a pretty accurate rendition, artistically speaking, that is.

37. For their regatta float, these people decided to take their whole house with them.

Of course, this is too small to be a real house as well as much prettier than what many people could afford (as a real house, that is). Still, this team must have a very good designer or architect.

Of course, this is too small to be a real house as well as much prettier than what many people could afford (as a real house, that is). Still, this team must have a very good designer or architect.

38. Look out, here comes two girl rowers on an aircraft carrier.

Now I wonder if this event is just a regatta or some weird form of Battleship. Seems like it's made from Styrofoam which I highly advise against as a packing material.

Now I wonder if this event is just a regatta or some weird form of Battleship. Seems like it’s made from Styrofoam which I highly advise against as a packing material.

39. Well, at least the people on this float have a place for their private business.

Sure it's nice to go with the whole rustic Texas theme. But I'm not sure if it's a good idea to perpetuate possible stereotypes about yourselves.

Sure it’s nice to go with the whole rustic Texas theme. But I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to perpetuate possible stereotypes about yourselves. You don’t want people to get the wrong idea about you.

40. For your regatta float, you can’t go wrong with the turtle.

Now this is definitely a pumpkin float if you look inside. And I'm sure it's only made for one person. Still, wherever this guy lives, I'm sure the pumpkins there have some kind of abnormality that makes the grow excessively huge.

Now this is definitely a pumpkin float if you look inside. And I’m sure it’s only made for one person. Still, wherever this guy lives, I’m sure the pumpkins there have some kind of abnormality that makes the grow excessively huge.

41. Hey, look, is that the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine?

Just for the record, Scooby Doo is a horribly written mystery cartoon about a group of teenagers who travel in a hippie van with their oversized dog. Oh, and the villains are usually people in monster masks. Seriously, couldn't they just have the villains not wear the masks sometimes? Like real murder mysteries akin to Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler, or Arthur Conan Doyle?

Just for the record, Scooby Doo is a horribly written mystery cartoon about a group of teenagers who travel in a hippie van with their oversized dog. Oh, and the villains are usually people in monster masks. Seriously, couldn’t they just have the villains not wear the masks sometimes? Like real murder mysteries akin to Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammet, Raymond Chandler, or Arthur Conan Doyle?

42. Nothing makes a regatta float than one of a dead possum covered in duct tape.

For those familiar with Canadian Television or PBS several years ago might get this reference. For those who don't, well, it's pretty hard for me to explain.

For those familiar with Canadian Television or PBS several years ago might get this reference. For those who don’t, well, it’s pretty hard for me to explain.

43. Remember, a couch may be comfy to sit on. But it also makes a rather handy flotation device.

Of course, I have to make a special discretion for those at West Virginia University. Remember,  you can do more with couches than just burn them in the event of a victory party at your sporting events. Seriously, couch burning is illegal in Morgantown. In fact, it's illegal anywhere, especially if the couch in question is not yours.

Of course, I have to make a special discretion for those at West Virginia University. Remember, you can do more with couches than just burn them in the event of a victory party at your sporting events. Seriously, couch burning is illegal in Morgantown. In fact, it’s illegal anywhere, especially if the couch in question is not yours.

44. For those hard to reach spots, a crane truck can do just fine.

Not sure if it actually works. But it seems to do quite well in the water and really stand out.

Not sure if it actually works. But it seems to do quite well in the water and really stand out. Got to appreciate the magic of cardboard.

45. Seems like this pirate ship has too many people rocking the boat.

Looks like they have to throw a man or two overboard before they could get ship shape. Either that or at least perhaps try to give the boat an equal weight distribution.

Looks like they have to throw a man or two overboard before they could get ship shape. Either that or at least perhaps try to give the boat an equal weight distribution.

46. Of course, what’s a regatta if you don’t have an old timey riverboat there?

Nevertheless, from what I've read, real steamboats weren't the safest things and were very prone to catching fire. So this cardboard cut out is probably much safer than the real thing.

Nevertheless, from what I’ve read, real steamboats weren’t the safest things and were very prone to catching fire. So this cardboard cut out is probably much safer than the real thing.

47. Introducing the one and only water dragon.

Not sure how they manage to keep this one together before it was in the water. Oh, yes, ropes. But still, will it be in one piece at the finish line? I'm not so sure.

Not sure how they manage to keep this one together before it was in the water. Oh, yes, ropes. But still, will it be in one piece at the finish line? I’m not so sure.

48. Of course, when it comes to regattas, even Disney fans want to cash in on the action.

And it seems that these people are avid fans of Aladdin. I mean they have a Genie float after plans for a magic carpet raft fell through.

And it seems that these people are avid fans of Aladdin. I mean they have a Genie float after plans for a magic carpet raft fell through.

49. Want to decorate your float but don’t want it to sink? Remember, that pool toys are just as good decorations as any.

Not sure if I share these girls' taste in decorating. In fact, I actually think this float is kind of tacky. But I'm sure it'll probably not sink as long as it's not carrying more than its capacity.

Not sure if I share these girls’ taste in decorating. In fact, I actually think this float is kind of tacky. But I’m sure it’ll probably not sink as long as it’s not carrying more than its capacity.

50. In ancient times, it wasn’t uncommon for people to build sail boats out of aluminum beer cans.

Actually, I'm just kidding about that. This is probably for a beer can regatta in Australia. But still, it kind of gives you an impression that it was used during an ancient civilization.

Actually, I’m just kidding about that. This is probably for a beer can regatta in Australia. But still, it kind of gives you an impression that it was used during an ancient civilization.

51. Now a float like this can take any spectator into the Prehistoric Era.

Well, if you imagine the Prehistoric Era akin to what you see on The Flinstones or in some stupid Creationist museum in Kentucky. Still, that T-Rex seems to come straight from some cheap theme park, not Jurassic Park.

Well, if you imagine the Prehistoric Era akin to what you see on The Flinstones or in some stupid Creationist museum in Kentucky. Still, that T-Rex seems to come straight from some cheap theme park, not Jurassic Park.

52. See the Pharaoh being rowed on his Nile River cruise by his royal attendants.

Now I don't have an issue with the boat here even if the side is in hieroglyphics. What my problem is with the guys in red hats. Seriously, those are Pharaoh hats for Lower Egypt. I'm not sure if there should be 2 of them.

Now I don’t have an issue with the boat here even if the side is in hieroglyphics. What my problem is with the guys in red hats. Seriously, those are Pharaoh hats for Lower Egypt. I’m not sure if there should be 2 of them.

53. I’m sure this Viking boat will make a grand addition at Valhalla.

Now these guys may like Vikings. But I'm not sure if they know a lot about them. For instance, real Vikings didn't wear horned helmets. Seriously, it wouldn't be practical in the heat of battle.

Now these guys may like Vikings. But I’m not sure if they know a lot about them. For instance, real Vikings didn’t wear horned helmets. Seriously, it wouldn’t be practical in the heat of battle.

54. While some race on the regatta by boat, some just take the shuttle.

And by "shuttle" I mean space shuttle. Of course, it may not take these girls to space. But it just as well might take them to the finish line, which is just as well.

And by “shuttle” I mean space shuttle. Of course, it may not take these girls to space. But it just as well might take them to the finish line, which is just as well.

55. Of course, if you’re entering a regatta with your Sunday school class, you’d probably do a float of Noah’s Ark.

Now this doesn't look like a good rendition of Noah's Ark. And believe me, I saw the Darren Aronofsky movie. Then again, these people were on a tight budget so their cardboard ark is understandable. Darren Aronofsky though.....

Now this doesn’t look like a good rendition of Noah’s Ark. And believe me, I saw the Darren Aronofsky movie. Then again, these people were on a tight budget so their cardboard ark is understandable. Darren Aronofsky on the other hand…..

56. Of course, nothing at the regatta makes your team look fierce than having a pink dragon boat.

Now I get the dragon. But I'm not sure about the pink other than to really stand out. On the other hand, there whole scheme might be about raising breast cancer awareness.

Now I get the dragon. But I’m not sure about the pink other than to really stand out. On the other hand, there whole scheme might be about raising breast cancer awareness.

57. Oh, my God, it’s the cops. Quick, let’s get out of here before they make us pull over.

My mistake, it's just a couple of people having a good time in a float that happens to be of a police car. Yeah, sorry for the false alarm here.

My mistake, it’s just a couple of people having a good time in a float that happens to be of a police car. Yeah, sorry for the false alarm here.

58. Not I’m sure this team has a real shot at winning one of the regatta races.

Now I don't know about you but sometimes a float of a hypodermic needle can be a fine line between clever and intimidating. I mean my dad squirms when he sees needles being injected onscreen.

Now I don’t know about you but sometimes a float of a hypodermic needle can be a fine line between clever and intimidating. I mean my dad squirms when he sees needles being injected onscreen.

59. Nothing makes a regatta worthwhile than having a float with a brightly colored macaw on it.

Of course, this macaw seems like a rather happy camper to many. Still, quite colorful to say the least.

Of course, this macaw seems like a rather happy camper to many. Still, quite colorful to say the least.

60. Of course, this barrel monster is sure to strike terror in the souls of competitors.

Of course, this sea monster might not be anywhere near intimidating. But I'm sure the plastic barrels will do just fine in regards to flotation.

Of course, this sea monster might not be anywhere near intimidating. But I’m sure the plastic barrels will do just fine in regards to flotation.

61. If they row any faster, I wonder if this boat will fly.

Of course, it won't fly even with the propellers spinning. But you got to hand it to them, it sure pays to be in the shade.

Of course, it won’t fly even with the propellers spinning. But you got to hand it to them, it sure pays to be in the shade.

62. When it comes to regattas, everyone should be able to float their own tree houses.

I'm not sure if anyone could fit in that house. But these kids really seem to be proud of it.

I’m not sure if anyone could fit in that house. But these kids really seem to be proud of it even if it’s made from cardboard.

63. Seems like someone wants to really hammer in the competition.

I know this is for Australia's Darwin Beer Can Regatta. Still, I can't help but wonder whether the owners may be cheating.

I know this is for Australia’s Darwin Beer Can Regatta. Still, I can’t help but wonder whether the owners may be cheating.

64. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the Ill Eagle.

Now this might be a play on words here. But I'm sure this is from an American team where the bald eagle is its national symbol.

Now this might be a play on words here. But I’m sure this is from an American team where the bald eagle is its national symbol.

65. Hmmm….not sure if I’d want fries with that or not.

Still, you have to question whether this might add on to the obesity crisis in America and abroad. Seriously, let's just say that fast food isn't for me. Nor will it ever be.

Still, you have to question whether this might add on to the obesity crisis in America and abroad. Seriously, let’s just say that fast food isn’t for me. Nor will it ever be.

66. Nothing makes a regatta like a float of a pink jeep.

Now I'm not sure whether it looks badass, clever, or tacky. May be a combination of all 3 for all I know.

Now I’m not sure whether it looks badass, clever, or tacky. May be a combination of all 3 for all I know.

67. For all I know, this Energizer Bunny float can just keep going and going.

Wait a minute, is that really an Energizer Bunny float or just a pig with sunglasses? If so, then where the hell is its drum? If not, then I'll put it on here.

Wait a minute, is that really an Energizer Bunny float or just a pig with sunglasses? If so, then where the hell is its drum? If not, then I’ll put it on here.

68. Of course, in case of a fire, we have a firetruck and other emergency vehicles standing by.

Sure it might be a bit redundant having a fire truck on the water. But still, the water could be contaminated with flammable chemicals for all we know like fracking fluid. So it pays to stay on the safe side.

Sure it might be a bit redundant having a fire truck on the water. But still, the water could be contaminated with flammable chemicals for all we know like fracking fluid. So it pays to stay on the safe side.

69. Have a duck float and pretty soon everyone is going around making duck faces.

Then again, it may be a swan or a goose for all I know. The bill doesn't seem ducklike to me for some reason. But the costumes certainly do.

Then again, it may be a swan or a goose for all I know. The bill doesn’t seem ducklike to me for some reason. But the costumes certainly do.

70. Now this hotdog float is bound to give the $5 foot long a whole new meaning.

Okay, maybe not since the $5 foot long is from Subway. But I'm sure that you wouldn't want ketchup or mustard on this thing in the very least.

Okay, maybe not since the $5 foot long is from Subway. But I’m sure that you wouldn’t want ketchup or mustard on this thing in the very least.

71. Now by Thor’s hammer, this is a Viking ship well fitting for any regatta.

Now something tells me that the crew will be wearing horned Viking helmets. I'm sure this will give the Mighty Thor and Loki a facepalm.

Now something tells me that the crew will be wearing horned Viking helmets. I’m sure this will give the Mighty Thor and Loki a facepalm.

72. For those who like motorcycles, now you can ride one on the water.

I'm sure whoever designed this float must either be in a midlife crisis or compensating for something. I'm not sure what else. Seriously, motorcycles are called by a different name in the medical field for a reason.

I’m sure whoever designed this float must either be in a midlife crisis or compensating for something. I’m not sure what else. Seriously, motorcycles are called by a different name in the medical field for a reason.

73. Seems like this guy wants to take up a foot in regards to the competition.

Now I'm sure we all wear sneakers. But how many of us have a sneaker boat? I'm sure there could only be one.

Now I’m sure we all wear sneakers. But how many of us have a sneaker boat? I’m sure there could only be one.

74. Of course, you can always seem to hop to it at the regatta with this froggie float.

Now this may not look like Kermit. Then again, it appears pretty demented as if it has no soul to speak of. Still, its tongue seems to be in the water.

Now this may not look like Kermit. Then again, it appears pretty demented as if it has no soul to speak of. Still, its tongue seems to be in the water.

75. For those who look forward to Shark Week, a float like this might be for you.

Now Jaws begins when a shark devours a woman swimming on the beach. In this case the woman is using the shark as a rowboat. Reminds us of how far we've come.

Now Jaws begins when a shark devours a woman swimming on the beach. In this case the woman is using the shark as a rowboat. Reminds us of how far we’ve come.

76. Got a rusty old farm truck? Perhaps you should make a float for it with some rusty barrels.

Now I'm sure this is probably a Deere if it's in an American regatta. Of course, at least it's carrying an appropriate load.

Now I’m sure this is probably a Deere if it’s in an American regatta. Of course, at least it’s carrying an appropriate load.

77. Now there’s nothing better than having a regatta boat of a bunny or mouse.

Okay, that's definitely a mouse. But at least these people seem to make the whole regatta sort of a family affair. Even if it's subjecting the kid to wearing mouse ears.

Okay, that’s definitely a mouse. Then again, it may be a bunny. But at least these people seem to make the whole regatta sort of a family affair. Even if it’s subjecting the kid to wearing bunny ears.

78. Why use oars to move around when you already have water wheels on each side?

Not sure if it does away with oars completely. But even if it doesn't, it still looks pretty cool. Wouldn't mind having one of those myself.

Not sure if it does away with oars completely. But even if it doesn’t, it still looks pretty cool. Wouldn’t mind having one of those myself.

79. Only at a regatta could you make a caterpillar out of a bathtub.

Now the picture in the window is obviously photoshopped. Still, you have to hand it to these ladies for their creative spirit.

Now the picture in the window is obviously photoshopped. Still, you have to hand it to these ladies for their creative spirit.

80. Well, if anyone needs a snack, there’s always Dunkin’ Donuts.

Still, you don't want to have too many if you want to look good in a swimsuit. And this goes for women and men here. Or if you don't want diabetes or other health problems like obesity.

Still, you don’t want to have too many if you want to look good in a swimsuit. And this goes for women and men here. Or if you don’t want diabetes or other health problems like obesity.

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 53 – The RMS Titanic

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Of course, I couldn’t do a post on the RMS Titanic without having a picture from James Cameron’s 1997 take on the disaster which propelled Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio to megastardom as well as won 11 Oscars including Best Picture. Still, it’s not the most accurate cinematic retelling but it’s by far the most popular and the one my generation most likely remembers (especially my neighbor who went to see it multiple times in the theater). Still, I may not have been allowed to see it as a seven-year-old at the time of its release, but I had some idea how big this film was. Nevertheless, at a historical stand point, despite this scene being a highly romantic moment between Jack and Rose, this scene most likely never would happen because people were specifically prohibited from being there, really. I mean there were signs on the Titanic specifically telling people not to do this!

It may seem odd for me to focus one of my posts on movie history on one single event that lasted for a less than a week but in many ways, the voyage of the RMS Titanic is a truly memorable one that once shook the world. However, somehow a story of a huge luxury liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg which killed about 1,517 people seems to have a certain hold on a lot of people that James Cameron’s 1997 epic was a critical and box office success at the time even if it’s not the most accurate nor the most entertaining rendition out of many films that covered the disaster. Yet, back in April of 1912, news of the sinking of the RMS Titanic sent shock waves throughout the world and it has been the subject of much captivation and artistic rendition ever since. The movie adaptation on this disaster actually came out in 1912, not long after it happened. But while many ships have met their watery graves in the ocean which carried far more people, it’s the one of the RMS Titanic that keeps grabbing the attention with so much that has been written and filmed of it. Nevertheless, the cinematic retellings do have their share of inaccuracies which I shall list accordingly.

The White Star Line:

The White Star Line was a public company. (It was actually a subsidiary of a private company and didn’t offer stock nor have a stock price to worry about. Oh, and it was owned by J. P. Morgan.)

The Ship:

The Titanic’s furniture at Palm’s Court consisted of tan wicker furniture and circular tables with bare walls. (Photos of the Titanic showed that the room had wicker furniture, square tables, and walls with real climbing ivy.)

Passengers on the Titanic were allowed on the forecastle, head, and bow. (They weren’t allowed on these parts on the ship. In fact, there were signs that said “Passengers Not Allowed Beyond This Point” mounted on the leeward side of the forward breakwater {both port and starboard}. So the scene where Leonardo DiCaprio says, “I’m king of the world!” wouldn’t have taken place.)

The Titanic’s first class dining hall had table lamps. (It didn’t.)

The Titanic’s entrance vestibule had wooden doors. (According to Imdb: “When James Cameron visited the wreck two years after filming ended, he discovered that the doors were in fact inaccurately portrayed in the {1997} film.”)

The Titanic’s Master at Arm’s office had a porthole. (It was an interior room and therefore, wouldn’t have portholes.)

The Titanic had shuffleboard, its own tailor shop, and regular bar in which people would get drinks. (There was no shuffleboard or a tailor shop on the Titanic. Also, on the Titanic, passengers would order their drinks through waiters and stewards who’d fetch them for the passengers.)

The Titanic had a dance floor in its first class dining saloon. (The Titanic did not have a dance floor. Also, among middle and upper classes, public dancing was seen as inappropriate in 1912.)

The grand staircase of the Titanic had an elaborate brass dome. (It didn’t.)

The watertight doors of the Titanic slid horizontally. (They didn’t.)

The Titanic was as big as the Mauretania and the Lusitatania. (It was actually 90 some feet longer than either ship.)

The Titanic had a piano in its lounge. (There’s no evidence on whether it was or not.)

The funnels on the Titanic were noisy on the outside but could barely be heard on the inside of the ship even during the sinking. (It’s said to sound like 20 locomotives blowing off steam at low key. Also, the noise of the funnels hindered Jack Philips from hearing transmissions from other ships since the Marconi office was below a funnel.)

The Crew:

The crew of the crows nest were equipped with binoculars and communicated to the bridge through screaming back and forth. (They didn’t have binoculars. They also communicated to the bridge through telephone.)

Captain Smith witnessed the Titanic colliding with an iceberg. (He was in his cabin at the time.)

The crew on the Titanic wore Royal Navy uniforms. (They weren’t in the Royal Navy. They wore uniforms from the White Star Line.)

First Officer Murdoch lowered Collapsible C boat. (Chief Officer Wilde did this.)

First Officer William Murdoch shot two innocent men to prevent them from boarding a lifeboat during the sinking of the Titanic and later committed suicide. (Murdoch more likely tried to do what he could to save the passengers and went down with the ship like most of the crew did except those who manned the lifeboats. His hometown and family were outraged by Murdoch’s depiction in the James Cameron movie since his locale treats him as a local hero. As to his fate, we really can’t say whether he committed suicide or not because there are many contradictory accounts of what happened to him. The crew members may have been inexperienced but there are plenty of stories of the crew members performing heroic actions. Actually, James Cameron treats most of the Titanic crew members in a negative light with the exception of Captain Smith of course, who I think bears the bulk of the responsibility for the Titanic sinking in the first place since he was the one who canceled the lifeboat drill, ignored prior warnings of icebergs ahead, and ordered the Titanic to go full speed.)

Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller was nervous martinet. (He was actually a hero who kept a dozen people alive on an overturned Collapsible B.)

German First Officer Petersen vainly tried to save the greedy British from their own destruction. (The First Officer on the Titanic was William Murdoch who went down with the ship. Not to mention, the Titanic was a British ship manned by a British crew! Petersen was a fictional character created for a 1943 Nazi propaganda film of the Titanic sinking, which James Cameron has seen since he borrowed plenty of its elements for the 1997 film {though he claims he hasn’t, nice try}. Strangely enough, while the German 1943 version of the Titanic sinking is flat out Nazi propaganda, it isn’t the worst film adaptation of the disaster.)

Captain Edward John Smith had a mustache while on the Titanic and made it to New York. (He had a mustache and a full white beard like in the Edwardian style. Also, he died during the sinking.)

Captain Smith went on the bridge of the Titanic during the sinking. (There are conflicting survivor testimonies as to what happened to him. Some say he stayed on the bridge, others say he jumped off the ship in a life jacket. A few accounts even said he committed suicide.)

Captain Edward John Smith planned to retire after the Titanic‘s maiden crossing. (It’s common knowledge and he was supposed to since he was 62 {though the Titanic registers list him as 59} while the mandatory retirement age on the White Star Line was 60. However, there’s some debate whether this was true or not. Still, he was probably not looking forward to it and if he was, he was probably more or less being pressured into retirement.)

Captain Smith visited the wireless cabin to tell the operators to send calls for assistance and gave the incorrect coordinates for the ship. (He actually gave the correct coordinates and it was 4th Officer Boxhall who gave the screwed up coordinates some minutes later to the Marconi operators Phillips and Bride.)

Captain Smith was at the starboard side during the Titanic sinking. (He was on the starboard side most of the time and Harold Bride says that Smith returned with him into the wireless room.)

2nd Officer Lightoller was wearing an overcoat during the loading of the lifeboats even when he was on the Collapsible B. (When launching the last two lifeboats, he said in his autobiography that he was wearing a pants and sweater over his pajamas as well as a life jacket. He had already discarded his overcoat by that point.)

Chief Baker Charles Joughin was drunk during the Titanic sinking. (He wasn’t though he did take a quick nip in his cabin during the evacuation.)

Sub-Lieutenant Harold Godfrey Lowe saw women and children among the debris. (He didn’t report seeing any women and children among the wreckage.)

The Passengers:

Thomas Andrews clearly noticed that the Titanic hit something while he was in his cabin going over the ship’s blueprints. (While Andrews was in his cabin working on improvements for the Titanic {which he designed himself}, he didn’t feel the iceberg collision and was informed of it when he was summoned by the crew.)

Thomas Andrews surveyed the iceberg damage and realized that the Titanic was going to sink. (From a page of goofs on James Cameron’s Titanic: “We don’t know what transpired between Captain Smith, Andrews, Chief Officer Wilde, First Officer Murdoch or Sixth Officer Moody, as all were lost.”)

J. Bruce Ismay was an arrogant bullying prick who forced Captain Smith to run the ship full speed into the ice field and acted as a sniffling coward who hopped aboard the first available lifeboat. (Actually it was Smith’s decision to run the ship full speed. Also, Ismay was diligent in helping load and lower lifeboats and only took his seat in one after he made sure that there were no women and children there to take it instead. Of course, he was wrong since most of the women and children on the ship by that time were all crowded in steerage and went down with the ship.)

There were Spanish passengers in steerage on the Titanic. (There were 3 Spanish passengers in 1st class and 5 in 2nd class. None were in 3rd.)

J. Bruce Ismay pressured Captain Smith to speed up the Titanic in order to achieve a new speed record for the White Star Line. (Everyone knew that the White Star Line couldn’t win against the Lusitania and the Mauretania. Also, the Titanic and its sister ships like the Olympic and the Britannic weren’t designed to beat the Cunard Line based on speed but on luxury and technological novelties {and even that’s subjective}. Furthermore, arriving early wouldn’t lead to applause but complaints from the passengers whose hotel reservations would’ve been set for the following day and annoyance from New York customs.)

Harold Sanderson was the chairman of the White Star Line who disembarked at during a port of call at Cherbourg, France before the Titanic set sail for the Atlantic. (Well, he was a senior official of the White Star Line in 1912. He wasn’t the chairman. J. Bruce Ismay was. This error is in the 1953 Titanic film with Barbara Stanwyck. Also, the Titanic made a port of call at Queenstown, Ireland before heading to New York, not Cherbourg, France.)

J. Bruce Ismay’s wife was Gloria. (Her name was Florence Schieffelin during the Titanic’s maiden voyage.)

All the Titanic passengers were white. (Most of them were, but there were some racial minorities among them.)

Madeline Astor was an old woman having an affair during the Titanic voyage. (She was actually a heavily pregnant 18 year old girl. Her son was born 4 months after the voyage. She wasn’t a buxom blond woman pushing 30 either but a slender teenage brunette. Of course, her husband John Jacob Astor was 54 years old which is kind of creepy.)

Molly Brown was one of the first passengers on board Lifeboat 6. (She was one of the last.)

The Maiden Voyage:

The Titanic set sail in brilliant sunshine at Southampton. (Photographs showed that the Titanic set sail in sky overcast.)

Tickets on the Titanic were easy to transfer to another passenger. (They were impossible to transfer so it’s very unlikely for the Jack and Rose love story to happen, historically speaking.)

The Titanic sailed out of Liverpool. (It sailed out of Southampton. In fact, one of the reasons why the White Star Line chose Southampton as its main terminal was because their newest ships were too big for Liverpool’s harbor.)

During the voyage, a bunch of third class passengers went to the first class hangout to find what was going on. (This never happened but it’s in the German 1943 Titanic film. Also, this was never allowed.)

The Titanic was christened before its maiden voyage. (The White Star Line never really christened their ships at this point. Also, the fact that the Titanic was never christened contributed to why some people believed it sunk in the first place.)

The Titanic was due in New York on April 15. (It was due to land in New York on April 17.)

The White Star Line was aiming to get a Blue Ribbon during the Titanic’s voyage. (It had already given up that goal by that point.)

Life in first class aboard the Titanic was boring while life in steerage was lively and fun. (Of course, James Cameron’s Titanic is told through Rose’s point of view and she may have believed this. However, let’s just say that in most of history, it was better to be rich than poor for obvious reasons {and casualty records on the Titanic’s sinking show this since more people in steerage died than from first and second class}. Also, single men and women were segregated in third class with single women in the bow and single women and families in the stern.)

The Titanic arrived at Cherbourg, France at dusk with every single light on in the ship. (It arrived at Cherbourg, France during the day time but we’re not sure how long it took to transfer passengers and mail to and from the ship so it could’ve been evening. But by that time only the anchor lights would’ve been on. Also, the Titanic was only 2/3 occupied at this point so all the lights wouldn’t have been on the ship even if it does look pretty in the James Cameron film.)

Colonel Archibald Gracie was British. (He was actually American but Cameron had him speaking in a British accent for some reason.)

The Iceberg Collision:

Titanic’s E deck was immediately flooded during the iceberg collision. (E deck was two floors above the collision site and wasn’t immediately flooded.)

The impact of the Titanic hitting the iceberg threw the passengers forward. (If it did, the Titanic would’ve had a lower body count. However, the impact caused the ship to shake slightly and was barely noticeable.)

The Titanic collided with a small iceberg. (The iceberg was actually quite huge, especially underwater.)

The first warning of ice was brought to bridge. (It wasn’t. Actually the Titanic received multiple warnings of icebergs from other ships but not all of them were relayed to radio operators and the ice conditions for that April were the worst for that month in the previous 50 years.)

The Titanic hit the iceberg by its port side. (It was hit on its starboard side but this is shown in multiple films.)

The iceberg collision ruptured five of Titanic‘s compartments. (It ruptured six. Still, five was the minimum number of compartments that had to be ruptured before the ship could sink.)

The Sinking:

“CQD” was sent from the Titanic as a distress signal. (Yes, it was but “SOS” was used later on.)

The Titanic sank in one piece. (It actually split in two pieces near the surface. Yet, many film adaptations made before the 1980s show this because the technology to find and view the wreckage itself didn’t exist at the time. Thus, it was popularly believed it sank in one piece.)

All the Titanic’s boilers were lit before it sank. (Only 24 out its 29 boilers were ever lit, yet it’s said there was to be a full speed test with all of them lit on April 15th, 1912. Of course, you know what happened by then.)

The Titanic sank on a starry night. (It actually sank on a dark and moonless night.)

Picasso paintings were lost on the Titanic. (There were no Picasso paintings on there and many of them depicted in the movies are still on display. Also, we know what happened to his painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon since you can actually see it in a museum. Boy, Rose must’ve gotten scammed big time somehow.)

Lifeboats on the Titanic were loaded according to gender, age, and class. (They weren’t loaded according to class despite what James Cameron might imply. In fact, more third class women survived the Titanic than first class men. And many of the first class men who survived were vilified as selfish cowards willing to save their own skins as 150 women and children met their watery deaths.)

The Titanic passengers were awakened to find the ship sinking at the sound of the siren informing them of the collision. (No such system existed on the Titanic. Passengers in all three classes were informed about their sinking through stewards knocking on their cabin doors and only when crew members knew that the ship was going to sink.)

Men on the Titanic were prevented from getting to the lifeboats during the sinking. (Men were indeed prevented from accessing lifeboats on the port side. Yet, men on the starboard side allowed men if no more women and children were willing to go or didn’t show up. Also, a third of the men in first class survived.)

The red ensign was on the Titanic flagstaff during the sinking. (The Titanic sank during the night while red ensigns are flown during the day time.)

The Titanic sank almost immediately after hitting an iceberg. (The ship struck the iceberg at 11:40 pm. The ship sank at 2:20 am so sinking took a good 2 ½ hours at least.)

Men dressed in drag to get on to the Titanic life boats. (The idea of men dressing up as women during the sinking has been long discredited as a hoax. According to Imdb: “This was a rumor started by one survivor’s business competitor to discredit him.”)

The Titanic sank with the lights in its portholes. (The electrical power failed a few seconds before the ship went down.)

712 people survived on the Titanic. (The exact count of survivors has been disputed but there were 712 on the lifeboats.)

Only six people were in the ocean were saved 6 during the Titanic sinking. (13 were saved from the waters but 3 of them died.)

Only one of the Titanic lifeboats went back to search for survivors. (Two or three of them did.)

Engineers put water in the boilers while the Titanic was sinking. (Putting water into the boiler would’ve been a bad idea and engineers in 1912 knew that.)

Everyone survived the Titanic with no traumatic effects. (The sinking of the RMS Titanic actually killed well over 1,500 people which is why it’s so remembered in the first place. However, there are a couple animated films that actually have such an ending with one called Titanic: The Legend Goes On that features singing immigrant mice and a rapping dog {seriously} and The Legend of the Titanic which has singing mice, an octopus that saves the ship and a “save the whales” plot {which is totally irrelevant since kerosene had already put most whaling out of business back in the late 1800s. Most modern whaling is actually done for food. Also, nobody owns the seas and oceans.} It also claimed that sharks prevented the Titanic from swerving around the iceberg which is just wrong because the Titanic was going too fast at that point to begin with to turn in time. It also blames sharks as the reason why the iceberg was there to begin with. Oh, and did I say that the latter animated film had a sequel that takes place in Atlantis featuring mermaids, talking toys, and evil mice? Seriously not making this up. Also, they were both made in Italy. Still, at least people got to die in Anastasia and Pocahontas!)

Children from First and Second class died in the sinking. (Only one child from first class did by the name of Loraine Allison who stayed on deck with her parents.)

The band played “Nearer My God to Thee” as the Titanic sank. (There’s dispute on what they played. Yet, the band had no horns section nor did anyone stand up and sing. Most experts believe it was “Autumn.”)

The Titanic boilers exploded while the ship was sinking. (No boiler exploded during the disaster yet such is shown in multiple films.)

The Titanic’s lifeboats were available for every passenger. (The ship had lifeboats that were only available for 1,178  people. The limited number of lifeboats was one of the reasons why so many people died on the Titanic.)

All of the Titanic’s lifeboats were successfully launched before it sank. (Collapsible B wasn’t for it floated off upside down which allowed Second Officer Lightoller and others to survive. Also, the collapsible boats were unwieldy and had room for 47 passengers each.)

Third class passengers were locked aboard the Titanic to keep them from taking a seat in a lifeboat before the first and second class passengers. (It was a regulatory measure to prevent “less cleanly” third class passengers from transmitting diseases and infections to others so they could be the only ones requiring health inspections on their arrival in New York. And even when they were locked, they didn’t bar the access to the deck, only the first and second passenger areas of the ship. In fact, when the Titanic was sinking, crew members went there immediately to lead the third class women and children to safety. However, the reason why so many people in steerage died on the Titanic was that many of them had a hard time finding their way through the maze of corridors to the life boats, with those who couldn’t speak English at an even greater disadvantage since the signs were only in English. Also, the third class cabins weren’t as close to the deck and the life boats as those of first and second class. Still, maybe having crew members who knew a foreign language as well as foreign language signs could’ve saved more people!)

During the sinking, many of the passengers went inside because it was too cold. (Most survivor accounts said they went on deck as soon as they put their life belts on. And they weren’t too impressed by the poor efforts of some of the crewmen preparing the boats. Those staying inside during the Titanic‘s sinking were people who either chose to go down with the ship or had no idea where to fetch the lifeboats.)

The Carpathia was the closest ship to the Titanic when it was sinking. (The Mount Temple and the Californian were closer. However, the Californian had its radio turned off for the night and when the captain saw the signal rockets shot off by the Titanic as distress signals, he just assumed they were fireworks aboard a luxury liner and went to bed. Then there’s the Norwegian whaling ship the Samson which was illegally hunting seals in US waters who mistook the lights and the signal rockets from the Titanic as belonging to the US or Canadian Coast Guard and only learned about the tragedy at the next port of call. The Carpathia may just get notice in the movies because it was the closest ship that came in and helped.)

The forecastle and the well deck were submerged when the first two lifeboats were away. (They wouldn’t go under water until the very last lifeboats were launched.)

Lifeboat 7 nearly tipped passengers at sea. (No survivor ever recalled this happening. However, there was some similar mishap on Lifeboat 5.)

“Women and children first” was the officer’s orders at gunpoint during the sinking of the Titanic. (“Women and children first” was standard procedure of most ships at the time. Almost all the male survivors of the Titanic {save a handful of crew members} were vilified because of this.)

Miscellaneous:

Everyone believed the Titanic was unsinkable. (The Titanic wasn’t big news until it hit an iceberg and sank. The ship claimed to be unsinkable was its sister ship the Olympic and that was before it experienced a minor collision. Yet, it had the same captain, traveled the same route, had the same facilities, and the same number of lifeboats.)

Life jackets on the Titanic had 12 pieces of cork in them. (They had six pieces of cork in them.)

The Titanic‘s lifeboats were tested in Belfast with the weight of 70 men. (There’s no way to verify this. However, there was testing on 66 people and the boats performed well. Still, many of the life boats on the Titanic left the ship half full.)

Father Thomas Byles prayed at the poop deck with the masses during the sinking. (He prayed at the aft end of the boat deck. Also, according to eyewitness accounts, Byles didn’t quote Revelation but recited the rosary, and performed acts of contrition and absolution to the doomed masses who congregated round him.)

The Titanic survivors on the Carpathia were all berthed in steerage. (Some Titanic survivors were berthed in 3rd class when suitable space in 2nd class couldn’t be found.)

The Titanic was badly designed, badly built, and badly operated by the standards of the time. (It was actually a very good ship even by modern standards since it managed to stay afloat well over 2 hours after being hit by an iceberg {even Thomas Andrews thought the ship wouldn’t last more than an hour and a half}. Still, it was built by the best available materials of the time period as well as not traveling too fast for the conditions by the standards of the time. Also, it was the second ship in a line of three Olympic sized ships. Besides, scientists have determined no man made structure could ever survive a collision with an iceberg going 30 mph. Also, it split at a 23 degree maximum tilt which is twice the intended design limits on modern ships. Thus, the Titanic was just torn apart by forces that were way beyond the extremes of what a structure was designed to withstand.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 28 – The Age of Sail and Other Things

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I know that Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World takes place during the Napoleonic Wars, but if there’s any film that embodies the Age of Sail, it’s this one. Of course, this movie was based on the Aubrey-Maturin bromance series by Patrick O’ Brian with the characters played by Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. Nevertheless, this is a fairly more accurate film than a lot of Age of Sail films Hollywood has made. Nevertheless, by the standards of his day, Jack Aubrey is a fairly good captain though the contentedness of his crew may not have been typical on a British war ship. I mean there has to be at least many British seamen on the HMS Surprise who didn’t want to be there since many were kidnapped by press gangs at the time, especially since the British Navy’s habit of abducting American sailors led to the War of 1812.

In a way, the age of Colonial Empire in movies could never complete without discussing the Age of Sail which spanned from the 1400s up to the mid-19th century. It was an era of great big wooden ships with high masts, billowing sails, and a crew of jolly old sailors. Of course, these ships were among the primary methods of long distance transportation for nearly 400 years and it’s usually with these ships that European nations were able to become rich, build navies, and create a colonial empire ushering an age of globalization. Nevertheless, naval strength in the Age of Sail also made countries powerful, explaining why Great Britain managed to become a world superpower with an empire that lasted so long. Since Hollywood has made pirate movies and adventure films in the era of colonization or Napoleonic Wars, you will certainly see ships like these time and time again. The Age of Sail is also a highly romanticized era because of how much it has been depicted in movies, books, and television despite that life aboard these sailing vessels wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be since these were the days that people didn’t have refrigeration, modern medicine, proper sanitation, adequate pest control, or even swimming lessons. Oh, and there were so many things that could kill you.Not to mention, many of the ships in movies tend to look too much alike and are sometimes much bigger than what many of these seafarers would’ve actually used. Yet, this is mainly because smaller ships wouldn’t be good filming locations. Nevertheless, movies continue to romanticize this era and this is where inaccuracies come to play.

The Age of Sail:

Navigation:

Maps were always accurate and precise. (Many times they weren’t. Also, remember that until the mid-18th century, there was no such thing as longitude.)

Ships:

Steel haul tall ships existed in the late 1700s. (They came into fashion 100 years later.)

Late 16th century Dutch ships had arched type sterns. (They had high castle-like sterns. Arched type sterns came a century or two later.)

Wooden sailing ships sailed in every direction in all kinds of weather with the main and topsails square to the masts at all times. (They only did this when navigating by the wind in their favorable direction, and only in good weather.)

Fully rigged wooden sailing ships could be turned simply by spinning the wheel. (There’s a whole array of multi-man complex procedures to turn a ship, even for a close change. They didn’t operate like cars do today. Steam engines and electric motors didn’t exist before the 19th century.)

Disabling the rudder chain cables on a large wooden ship only took a single man a few minutes. (Disabling a rudder chain took a single man days and only with the proper implement.)

A large wooden ship could be successfully operated by a small crew. (I’m not sure if one could be operated by less than ten guys. Then again, one of Magellan’s ships was successfully crewed by eighteen guys by the end {though he had died in the Philippines}. Still, no pre-19th century naval officer would worry about two men trying to steal a ship because it couldn’t be crewed by two guys.)

All British Men of War ships were painted in the “Nelson Checker” pattern around 1720. (This pattern wasn’t common until the Napoleonic Wars when used by Admiral Horatio Nelson.)

18th century wooden ships had a Plimsoll line. (This wasn’t used until the 19th century.)

Wooden ships were always impeccably clean. (These were notoriously filthy and infested with vermin.)

Wooden ships always consisted in wood that was in the best condition whether submerged or not. (Wooden ships weren’t in nearly as ship shape upon returning. They had barnacles on the hull and perhaps rotting wood. Plus, if it’s a warship, there would need to be some repairs and cannon blasts through it. Also, a ship’s carpenter was perhaps the second most valuable person on the ship next to the doctor.)

Damage caused by naval warfare could be fixed in a jiffy. (Somehow in movies, the ship’s carpenters never seem to get killed or they’re able to patch up a ship very quickly. I don’t think fast repair work is possible without power tools.)

Sailors:

Most wooden-ship era sailors volunteered to go out to sea and were lawful, clean-cut, and loyal members of the crew. (Being a sailor was one of the shittiest jobs in the era of wooden ships. Most sailors in the Royal Navy were kidnapped by thugs as a four-limbed drunk at a local tavern and were forced to serve on merchant ships. “Pressed men” were paid less than volunteers {if paid at all}, shackled onto ships while on port so they wouldn’t escape, and were whipped for any minor offense in the navy rulebook they didn’t get to read. They also had little or no chance of advancement and lived in appalling conditions. And of course, they had to deal with storms, crowded quarters, being away from their families, and tropical diseases. 75% of pressed sailors were dead within two years. Also, many Golden Age pirates started out as British sailors.)

Most sailors were content with serving on board a ship. (A lot ship crews weren’t really content because many sailors didn’t want to go to sea in the first place. The British Royal Navy recruited press gangs to kidnap four-limbed men on a regular basis. Also, the British Navy’s impressment of American sailors was one of the reasons for the War of 1812.)

Sailors mostly swabbed the deck on ships. (They did a lot of other stuff than just that.)

Most sailors knew how to swim. (Most of them didn’t and very few captains offered swimming lessons to their crews they didn’t really think it was worth it since swimming would just delay the inevitable or that it would encourage them to jump ship and desert when close to shore {remember this is a time when sailors were treated poorly and many were forced at sea against their will}. Many sailors usually expected a quick death if they were thrown overboard anyway. 16th century chroniclers of sea-life described that swimming and diving skills were valued because they were so rare.)

Drunken sailors were looked down upon. (Actually all sailors were looked down upon whether they were drunk or not. Also, officers thought a drunken sailor was less of security risk because drunk sailors were less likely to mutiny under horrific conditions. Yet, this doesn’t mean they were less likely to get flogged though.)

Most sailors were heterosexual and were willing to delay sexual gratification. (Maybe some sailors but it didn’t seem to prevent them screwing whores at ports, contracting STDs, and having a reputation of being sodomites. And sometimes in situations with a crew full of men, let’s just say there’s so many naval related gay stereotypes for a reason. Not to mention, there may be some gay homoerotic undertones in Moby Dick and Billy Budd. Make that what you will.)

Sailors were usually clean shaven by the time they returned home. (During the Age of Sail, most of them would’ve returned with a full beard since shaving requires fresh water and supplies were limited on a ship. Most pirate captains would certainly have had one.)

Most seamen were very healthy, well fed, and well cared for on a wooden ship. (Medicine before the 19th century wasn’t very reliable and naval seamen didn’t really have a long lifespan since there were so many ways to die on the ship like drowning, disease, starvation, or cannonball. Also, sailors on lawful vessels were usually treated rather shitty.)

Sailors almost never got seasick. (Many did including Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson {yet he was still a very capable officer who rose through the ranks and earned his noble title}.)

Seamen were punished by flogging most of the time. (They could also be tarred and feathered, keel-hauled, or other things and the whole crew was made to watch. Flogging was the most common punishment though and even that could be deadly. However, good captains would try not to punish their men this way unless it was necessary.)

Sailors on wooden ships always had quality food. (Maybe at first, but the quality would deteriorate as the voyage went on and could be infested with vermin. Yet, for some, the ship cuisine would’ve been better than what they ate ashore.)

All seamen were white. (There was a sizeable number of black sailors during the 18th century since officers were willing to take all the healthy four-limbed men they could get even if they were runaway slaves. Practically every harpooner in Moby Dick is non-white.)

There were no children on board. (There were powder monkeys who assisted gun crews, ship’s boys who carried ammunition, and boy cadets as young as twelve or nine.  Also, seamen generally started their careers as boys before reaching the seaman rank at 16 and leaving the sea at 26. )

Officers:

Captains on ships usually dished out orders on deck. (They also relied on their helmsmen to do such tasks.)

Captains on wooden ships would halt a thousand man ship of the line battle to rescue a single enlisted man who had fallen overboard. (Captains would’ve done no such thing since a naval battle was impossible to stop. Also, seamen were viewed as expendable in those days. A ship’s carpenter or doctor was more likely.)

Sadistic captains got away with everything. (Captain Bligh would’ve been court-martialed for tying a guy to the masthead during a storm, which he most certainly didn’t do.)

There were no child naval officers. (Most Royal Navy officers up until after the Napoleonic Wars {as far as I know} started as midshipmen  as early as their teens or younger. Midshipmen could be as young as twelve or even nine while lieutenants could be as young as eighteen. Of course, many of these kids were from prominent naval families, aristocrats, or the professional class. Master and Commander is perhaps one of the few movies that shows this. So yes, many seamen had to follow orders from teenagers believe it or not.)

Weaponry:

Triple cannons could fire multiple shots around the 17th century. (Cannons were muzzle loading at this time and couldn’t be reloaded.)

No wooden warship ran out of cannon balls.

Sea battles were fairly clean affairs starting with cannons firing at close range eventually with crews engaging in close combat. (Most of the time there would be debris everywhere due to cannon balls at close range.)

Loading cannons on ships took seconds. (It took longer than that.)

Naval:

The 18th century British Navy used Semaphore code with holding two flags in different positions. (They set up different flags on the masts on ships.)

British fleets in 1720 could have some 10 3-decked ships in a single line. (The Royal Navy had only six of these ships on commission worldwide in 1720.)

Royal Navy officers could be promoted to Commodore during the 18th century. (This wasn’t a rank in the Royal Navy until 1796.)

Royal Navy officers could be promoted to Lieutenant Commander during the 18th century. (This wasn’t a rank in the Royal Navy until 1877.)

Royal Navy press gangs only kidnapped adults into naval service. (They also abducted boys as young as eleven to serve as powder monkeys or teenage seamen. Powder monkeys assisted gun crews and learned most of the ship basics but were paid little {if anything}, treated poorly, and were expendable. Most boy pirates probably started out as powder monkeys.)

Royal Navy midshipmen went to school to learn how to become officers during the Age of Sail. (They didn’t attend school but learned on the ship as children.)

Other:

Ship surgeons performed slow and careful surgery. (Most ship surgeons usually cut limbs as fast as they could in order to spare the patient extra pain because they didn’t have any anesthesia in those days {except maybe alcoholic beverages}. Nevertheless, I don’t think that kid in Master and Commander would’ve been so laid back while Maturin was taking his freaking arm off since the pain would’ve been excruciating. I’m surprised this boy wasn’t screaming like a little kid getting a vaccination.)

Natives:

‘Wild Indians” were vicious, or at least more vicious than Europeans.

Tropical island locals and Africans practiced cannibalism and were headhunters. (Not really. Also, accounts of cannibalism among Indians in the Caribbean were greatly exaggerated and stemmed from the notion of a tribal practice keeping the bones of one’s ancestors in their homes so their spirits could watch over them. There has never been any evidence of indigenous cannibalism ever found in the Caribbean.)

Native warriors were usually bare chested and were threats to civilized society.

Natives had loose sexual customs.

Natives were primitive and savage. (Many indigenous cultures were rather complex as well as sophisticated and not all consisted of hunter-gatherer societies.)

Only converting to Christianity made Indians less violent and savage. (I don’t think this is the case since Indians all had their reasons of whether to convert to Christianity. Indian women in French territories even had French husbands like Sacajawea.)

Indian princesses (or a chief’s daughter) usually ended up with a white protagonist. (Many cultures didn’t have hereditary royalty. However, there were plenty of normal native women who ended up with whites as well.)

Native women were scantily clad. (I’m sure some women from indigenous tribes wore more than a bikini made out of coconuts.)

Natives believed white people were gods. (White people would like think native tribesmen did. However, many natives weren’t that naïve.)

Native Polynesian women wore grass skirts and coconut bras, especially in Hawaii.

Miscellaneous:

Martini Henry rifles had repeating ammunition. (They were single shot breech loading weapons.)

Singapore was a metropolis during the 18th century inhabited by Chinese. (It was a minor fishing village called “Temasek.” Also, it would’ve been inhabited by Malays and nobody would’ve heard anything about it. Singapore as we know it was founded Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles {love the guy’s name} in 1819 on behalf of the East India Company.)

Archaeologists were adventurers who discovered legendary artifacts, lost cities, and fought bad guys. (Even in the time of Imperialism a lot of archaeologists weren’t like Indiana Jones. T. E. Lawrence may have been an exception of this, however. Still, there were plenty of archaeologists with not so glorious discoveries as well.)

Old timey big game hunters were real manly men. (Yet, they somehow put a lot of animals on the endangered species list. Nowadays, many are known as “poachers.” However, Lieutenant Colonel Patterson at least didn’t kill those maneating lions for sport.)

All adventurers, archaeologists, and hunters wore safari outfits in Africa. (Some were in conventional dress.)

In 18th century Tortuga, women could safely walk around without any fear of being raped. (Considering that this was one of those hangouts for pirates who had no qualms about murder and spend long periods of time without women around, would I consider Tortuga safe in the 1700s? Hell, no.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 26 – The Golden Age of Piracy

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Of course, it would be very appropriate for me to show a picture from Pirates of the Caribbean series which has brought this era to a new generation. Still, these movies aren’t meant to be historically accurate but even they aren’t very good, you still can look forward to Captain Jack Sparrow. Nevertheless, Orlando Bloom perhaps may have looked more like a real Golden Age pirate than Johnny Depp would since the latter was in his forties at the time.

Ahoy, mateys! We come to the post of perhaps one of the most popular cinematic eras of all time, the Golden Age of Piracy. You may be wondering why in the hell does the Golden Age of Piracy have anything to do with Colonialism or Imperialism. Well, quite a lot actually since these pirates were the organized crime syndicates and highwaymen of the high seas with a Golden Age lasting roughly between 1650-1720. Whenever there is trading going on in history through water transportation, you’re going to have pirates. And with European colonial expansion, you have an influx of trading goods coming and going through the trade routes of the Atlantic Ocean. At first many of these European pirates were hired as privateers to cause trouble for Spain or act as a stand-in for a navy, but once England and France had a professional navy as well as the War of the Spanish Succession, the privateer tradition had died. Yet, rather than give up their privateering life to go straight, many of them opted for piracy and led the risky life of an outlaw. Nevertheless, the Golden Age of Piracy has been a subject of frequent romanticization, especially in Hollywood adventure movies and many have become legends in their own right. Nevertheless, there are plenty of things that movies get wrong about pirates in this Golden Era of lawlessness and adventure.

Anne Bonny:

Anne Bonny disguised herself as a man during her career. (She disguised herself as a boy when she was a kid, but not when she was a pirate. Her gender was public knowledge. However, Mary Read certainly did {and so did other female pirates since cross-dressing as a guy was much easier for women to do in those days}.)

Anne Bonny’s mentor was Blackbeard. (They didn’t know each other.)

Anne Bonny commanded her own ship. (She never did. She was always on Calico Jack’s ship with Mary Read. Still, she probably should’ve.)

Anne Bonny’s pirate boyfriend was French. (Her pirate boyfriend was Captain “Calico Jack” Rackam. She may have even had a couple of kids with him. Mary Read may also count as an intimate partner.)

Anne Bonny died on an islet at a sandy beach. (She more likely died in South Carolina at the age of 84 since her dad managed to ransom her while she was pregnant in jail {or so she said}. It’s said she married a respectable man and had eight children in addition to her two by Rackam. Still, we’re not sure what really happened to her.)

William Kidd:

Captain William Kidd was a pirate as well as savvy manipulative sociopath ultimately undone by the son of a man he had killed. (There’s only evidence that he was a privateer and that his fame springs from the sensational circumstances of his questioning before the English Parliament and the ensuing trial perhaps in a desperate attempt to clear his name. Also, compared to other pirates and privateers, his actual depredations on the high seas were less destructive and less lucrative than those of his contemporaries. Still, he may have been a notorious pirate or just an unjustly vilified and prosecuted privateer in an age typified by the rationalization and empire.)

William Kidd was ugly. (His portrait on Wikipedia suggests he was quite handsome. Still, he probably didn’t look anything like how Charles Laughton portrayed him.)

Blackbeard:

Henry Morgan and Blackbeard were contemporaries. (Morgan had died in 1688 when Blackbeard would’ve been at least a child if he was ever born at the time.)

Blackbeard was the pirate whom all pirates feared as well as an evil dick. (Yes, he was feared but he wasn’t evil or as violent as most pirates at the time. He tried to avoid violence whenever he could and went out of his way to take care of his men even though he did shoot and wound his first mate, it was said he did it to save the guy from dying in an upcoming battle. He commanded his ships with the permission of their crews and was seen as a more shrewd and calculating leader who relied on this fearsome image and PR more than violent force. Oh, and there are no accounts of him ever killing anyone who didn’t try to kill him first {not even those he held captive}.)

Blackbeard was short. (He was a tall and imposing man and looked almost nothing like Ian McShane. Actually, Sacha Baron Cohen would better fit his description.)

Blackbeard lived to be 70. (He was caught and killed at 40. Also, we’re pretty sure he didn’t fake his own death because he was shot no fewer than five times and cut about twenty. Oh, and there are reports that his body was thrown in an inlet while his head was suspended by a bowsprit of his Lieutenant Maynard’s sloop so he could collect the reward {but he was screwed over in the process after all he’d been through to get him}.)

Blackbeard was a pirate when the British were using privateers. (The British had outlawed privateering before Blackbeard came along.)

Blackbeard’s flag depicted a flaming skull. (It featured a devil horned skeleton spearing a heart holding an hourglass.)

Golden Age Pirate Life:

Some pirates had dads who were in the same profession. (I suppose some did, yet pirates didn’t have long careers so I’m not sure if they knew people from different generations. And even if they did, they wouldn’t know it {and neither would anyone else}. Still, it’s very unlikely that a blacksmith would go into the pirating trade since these master tradesmen had their own shops as well as a steady source of income. Having Will Turner as a Royal Navy sailor would’ve made more sense.)

There was no distinction of appearance between a pirate and a common sailor. (For God’s sake, Robert Louis Stevenson, there’s no way that anyone in the 17th century would hire a pirate crew and not even know it. I mean pirates like Long John Silver would never work for a regular captain even for buried treasure.)

Pirates wore clean clothes. (The only time their clothes were washed was in a rainstorm. They also didn’t bathe.)

Pirates were nice to African slaves who were members of their crew. (Sometimes, especially in Blackbeard’s case who had a black Quartermaster named Caesar but it depended on the ship. However, pirates sometimes resold Africans into slavery or turned them in for the reward. There are even occasions when they could be used as slaves doing menial work on board a ship. And if they were members of the crew, they may or may not be given the same shares as the rest. Yet, there were white pirates who saw them as either a commodity or less useful than “white” sailors {except marooners who’ve already proven themselves against the Spanish}.)

“Scallywag” referred to a fellow pirate. (This word wasn’t in use until after the American Civil War in which people in the Confederacy would refer to their pro-Unionist neighbors who collaborated during Reconstruction.)

Life aboard a pirate ship was unpredictably violent, chaotic, and teetering on the brink of mutiny. (Many naval ships with poorly paid sailors and autocratic captains under the thumbs of nobles or private investors were like this at the time. However, many pirate crews functioned more like organized crime families than anything. After all, they were known to be “gangsters of the sea,” than anything.)

Pirates sailed in big heavily armed wooden warships such as three masted Galleons. (Most of the time they sailed in whatever they could steal or hold on to. The average pirate ship was a small, fast, maneuverable craft that could zip around shoals larger ships wouldn’t navigate. Most of the time, they’d use single masted sloops. The heaviest pirate ships were converted merchantmen like Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge.)

Good pirates never raided merchant ships or settlements. (This is the very definition of pirating. All pirates did this because that’s what they do.)

Pirates mostly raided ships through violent means. (Most pirates would try to cultivate an image of ruthlessness so they could just get merchant ships to surrender without a fight. But when they fought, God help you!)

Most female pirates were easy to detect and their gender was public knowledge. (Most of the time you wouldn’t be able to tell which pirates were women {except maybe those without facial hair but they could easily be teenage boys}. Still, it’s said many just dressed up as guys just to protect themselves than any other reason. Anne Bonny and Mary Read were probably the exceptions to this {but they were shagging their captain, bringing booty, and putting up a hell of a fight}. Some like Grace O’Malley even became captains. Yet, most pirates didn’t allow women on their ships since their presence was bad luck unless she was talented in bringing boatloads of booty.)

Pirates had democratic rule on their ship and treated everyone equally. (Some pirate ships were democratic havens sometimes they weren’t. And not every pirate crew treated everyone equally. Also, there’s little historical evidence of pirate democracy on the islands. Still, pirate governments probably functioned more like crime families.)

Pirate captains commanded with an iron fist. (Many times the captain was the ultimate power aboard a ship. If he didn’t like you, you were gone. Yet, the captain and his officers were more likely to listen to redress from their crew because he couldn’t rely on the support or threat of punishment from a higher authority. They usually commanded because of skill, daring, and the ability to win prize and booty. Some were elected by their crew members by a vote and only didn’t have the last say except in battle. Sometimes power was shared between the captain and quartermaster and some pirate crews were just a loose confederation of thieves. Still, it depended on the ship but a typical pirate captain usually commanded like a head of an organized crime syndicate than anything.)

Pirates kept parrots as pets. (They also kept dogs and cats aboard, too, since they were used to keep vermin down. Yet, they may have kept parrots as exotic pets or “booty” as well as taken other animals on board a ship while in town. They also took livestock on board, too. Of course, there are accounts of one pirate trying to steal a herd of cattle on his ship, but he learned to regret it that he was willing to surrender to the British authorities since the cows were all puking and spewing all over the place. The British authorities just left him alone.)

Pirates only killed foreign soldiers and officers and never sank any ship unless it wasn’t from their country. (I don’t think pirates cared about who they killed or whose ships they sank. Of course, they didn’t attack English ships when England was using privateers but that soon went out of favor once they had made peace with Spain. I’m not sure if they would have any sense of patriotism from governments wanting to hang them. Unless they were privateers of course.)

The cutlass was a pirate weapon of choice. (It was the last weapon they wanted to reach for. Their preferred weapons were firearms {which weren’t effective by our standards}.)

Pirates usually raided and robbed warships. (They usually tried to avoid warships since they were designed for combat except Spanish Galleons. Besides, merchant ships were their primary targets.)

Pirates attacked other ships by sinking them and slaughtering their crew. (Actually, they’d go great lengths to avoid either if they could scare the ship into submission. They’d actually ask the enemy crew what they thought of their captain. If he was bad, he’d be beaten and maybe executed. If he was just, then the pirates would send the group to a lesser ship and send them on their way.)

Good pirates were a rough, roguish, and jovial bunch. (They were also ruthless cutthroats, murderers, raiders, and thieves. And they weren’t people you’d want to take home to your mother and not because they hardly bathed.)

Pirates wore gold earrings during the Golden Age of Piracy. (There’s no evidence because earrings on men weren’t fashionable at about the turn of the 18th century. Though pirates may have been an exception of that.)

Pirates’ treasure consisted of mostly precious items like gold. (Pirates treasure didn’t just consist of gold and precious items but also clothes, jewelry, sugar, spices, citrus fruit, fresh water, and maps as well as almost any trade goods stolen from merchant ships {they’d take practically anything}. And I’m not sure if they’d go bury it on some remote island in the Caribbean either. Not to mention, pirates rarely ran into merchant ships carrying precious metals or jewelry in large quantities.)

Pirates forced people to join their crew against their will. (Most of the time they only did this to carpenters, doctors, and other skilled workers for obvious reasons.)

Pirates left a lot of buried treasure on islands and drew maps to find it. (Pirates lived fast and hard lives who usually spend their money on women and booze as soon as it was in their hands as well as never had enough gold worth hiding. Besides, they usually faced an uncertain future so there was little incentive to stash their savings. Also, they split their treasure amongst themselves since they won it together. Thus, they didn’t leave a lot of buried treasure around since there was always a possibility that they could be hung from a dock not far in the future. And if they did, they certainly wouldn’t have drawn a map to find it since they’d rather use maps to trace known trade routes. They would only bury it where it was the easiest for them to get and the hardest for others to find. Captain William Kidd was the only pirate to actually do this perhaps successfully.)

Most Golden Age pirates were adult men of all ages. (Actually the Golden Age pirates were a very young crowd with some being children and adolescents {and yes, the Royal Navy press gangs did kidnap children since no kid wants to be a powder monkey}. Still, most of them were in their twenties and their careers were short-lived due to things like battles, infighting, disease, or the punishment on piracy at the time. Not many pirates lived past 30 and very few lived into middle age. Yet, most movie pirates are played by actors in their 30s or older.)

Golden Age pirates mostly did their raiding in the Caribbean. (A lot of Golden Age piracy is attributed to the Caribbean, but many raided ships in other waterways as well.)

Pirates were only in existence during the seventeenth and eighteenth century and were only European. (Piracy has been as old as the invention of the boat and there are still pirates today. Also, pirates came from all over the world.)

A popular pirate punishment was walking the plank. (Almost never happened since it’s easier to throw someone overboard. They did do marooning, flogging, casting overboard, torture, keel-hauling, and more.)

Most pirates were outlaws working for themselves. (Actually, there were also pirate mercenaries called privateers who worked for someone else like a government.)

Pirate curses are real and do come true. (Most of the time pirate curses are based on superstition and usually didn’t come true. Of course, many pirate superstitions could be something Robert Louis Stevenson just made up.)

The most famous pirates were the best ones. (The most famous pirates were usually captured, brought to trial, and/or killed immediately because someone had to be there for their exploits to be written down. As with the best pirates who avoided capture, we probably don’t know their names. Then again, you had guys like Henry Morgan who ended up governor of Jamaica and knighted and Henry Every who successfully retired with all his loot and suffered almost no repercussions from his crimes.)

Pirates were marooned onto lush deserted tropical islands. (No, they were marooned on islands with very little vegetation which could get swept up with the tide. They didn’t want a Robinson Crusoe situation on their hands.)

Pirates were hanged without trial after capture. (They were usually hanged after they were put on trial since piracy certainly was a capital crime though pirates were robbers and thieves at heart as well as desperate men with nothing to lose.)

Pirates spoke in pirate accents using phrases like “shiver my timbers,” “arr,” or “Fifteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest.” (No, they didn’t talk like the stereotypical pirates we see in the media. I’m sure Robert Louis Stevenson made that up. Also, there was no universal pirate accent since it makes no damn sense.)

All pirates had black flags with a skull and cross bones on them or a skull with crossed swords. (They also had red ones which were used in raids but meant that there was no quarter, no prisoners, kill or be killed. Black flags meant that the pirates were giving quarter like accepting terms of surrender and leave some of you alive. Also, black flag designs varied from ship to ship. Blackbeard’s had a devil horned skeleton holding an hourglass and stabbing a heart with a spear, lovely.)

Pirates had a hook hand as a prosthetic limb. (Yes, at least a couple pirates did have peg legs {though most pirates without a leg usually used crutches}, but it’s not very likely that pirates had hook hands because they wouldn’t be very practical. A pirate with a missing hand would more likely have a wooden arm if that.)

Pirates became captain by fighting the old one in a duel. (Sometimes they were elected by their crews. Duels among leaders could split a crew’s loyalties. Sometimes a default leader would emerge, be he the oldest, smartest, or most charismatic.)

Sailors became pirates to live a life of crime. (They actually ditched their jobs as sailors because being a sailor was one of the shittiest jobs ever and conditions on lawful ships were terrible. And if you were in the Royal Navy, you were likely pressed into naval service {a.k.a kidnapped by gangs of hired thugs looking for drunks with all four limbs} after getting wasted at a coastal tavern than actually sign up for it. Impressed sailors comprised half of the British navy at one point and were paid less than volunteers {if paid at all]} as well as had little or no chance of advancement. Impressed sailors were also shackled to the ships on port so they wouldn’t try to escape and were flailed for even the most minor offense in the navy handbook they probably didn’t get to read. Furthermore, 75% of impressed sailors in the Royal Navy were dead within two years. Oh, and sailors had to deal with storms, crowded quarters, and tropical diseases. Only a minority became pirates just for the enjoyment of being an outlaw. Most sailors became pirates to escape a life of certain death and constant humiliation as well as low pay and very little room for advancement.)

Golden Age pirates treated their lawful sailor prisoners like dirt. (Pirates sometimes recruited captured sailors for their crews and treated them better than their own officers or superiors. Also, Black Bart was a sailor captured by pirates and became their captain six weeks later. And his crew knew exactly where he came from and didn’t give a shit. Blackbeard’s crew is said to be 60% black so sometimes racial divisions didn’t matter.)

Pirates were the rock stars of the 18th century. (Well, it was a time when many outlaws were considered this so this could be true.)

“Good business” for pirates consisted of plotting global maritime domination and pursuing personal grudges. (They’d more likely be arranging profitable trade deals and raids merchant companies may depend on.)

Pirates towns were filled with loose women, shooting, and endless drinking. (There were pirate settlements but they were mostly havens to escape from the civil authorities. They may have joined together to form loose confederations, dispensed vigilante justice, similar to a frontier town but they didn’t have any organized government. It’s probably wiser to say that pirates were the gangsters of the high seas.)

Pirates saw themselves as cutthroats willing to kill a merchant seaman in the blink of an eye. (They saw themselves as independent businessmen. Also, they didn’t kill hapless merchant seaman since that would give them an incentive to resist {of course, those who resisted would either be handled roughly or killed}. Besides, they’d more likely give them a job offer. Still, it’s easier to understand Golden Age pirates if you see them as seafaring gangsters.)

Pirates never swore. (Uh, they were notorious for profanity.)

Pirates had a penchant for high class women. (While most love interests in pirate movies are seen as such, real pirates would usually not go for ladies like Elizabeth Swan, because such conquests would be like telling her Port Royal governor dad to arrest and hang them. They more likely slept with lower class women and whores.)