A Man, A Plan, A Canal, a…

No, this post has nothing to do with the Panama Canal – I just couldn’t resist using the anagram… it’s supposed to read both directions the same, but doesn’t work. Rats.

So, a Deck Plan of the Kathryn B, from Marigold’s End. Was you a shipwright, back in the day, this might be where you start your design. You might sit thee down with your client, he what wants the ship to be built, and draft, with pencil and ruler, a plan similar to that which you’ll find on the A Map page. Similar, but no color, of course, and a wee bit more sophisticated.

The Kathryn B was built as a merchant ship, so she’s a little beamy, being roughly four times longer than her width. What does beamy mean? Ships were (and still are) measured in two dimensions: length and width, which was (and still is) called her beam. So, if she’s stubby, like the Kathryn B, she has a little more width, or beam, compared to her length, than other ships. For example, warships of her day were approximately five times their width. She’s beamy, which means she’s not the fastest sailer, and she probably tends to roll in rough seas. But, that beaminess means she’s got tons of room below the main deck for cargo, and that’s what she was built to carry.

Caribbean pirates might be wary of the ten guns – six pounders, I believe them to be. That means each gun would fire a six-pound ball. It doesn’t seem like much, but when it hits the side of your ship at four hundred miles an hour, it can do a lot of damage! Each of these guns is about eight feet long, and weighs about as much as Toyota Camry. By the end of the 1700’s, big warships commonly carried guns that fired a 32-pound ball. That, my friend, is a lot of iron!

This map shows you most of the whereabouts of stuff aboard the ship. In thinking about it now, you’ll need to find the ‘tween decks yourself, along with the stairs that lead to the hold, and Phineas’ cot.  Hey, what’s the value of an adventure except to discover new stuff!

Enjoy the plan, and let me know if there be changes you’d like to see!


A Dangling Fortune

Why did pirates wear earrings?

Well, there are a quite a few theories, but also some hard facts.

This’d be a fact: was you a sailor up until around the year 1800, you would get yourself an earring to signify to them what saw you that you had survived a shipwreck. A sailor with two earrings, one in each ear, why, that fellow had survived two shipwrecks. Three earrings, three shipwrecks, and so on.

I read a theory that pirates also wore earrings as a way to show their wealth. The danglies alongside their head would tell you at a glance whether this is a successful brigand, or simply a wannabe.

While there is a little merit to this theory – who doesn’t want to advertise their success? – it runs into a bit of a problem when you think who pirates were.

And by, who pirates were, I mean who pirates ARE, because there are a great many seafaring pirates out there today. Those guys with Uzis and motorboats that attack oil tankers and freighters in the waters off Indonesia – thugs with machine guns and grenades – are every bit as much a pirate as Long John Silver and Captain Jack Sparrow.

If one of these modern day pirates were caught, say, by the Somalian Navy, they’d be hanged on the spot, and the world would cheer to be rid of the nasty fellow. As a consequence, modern day pirates keep a low profile, for fear of getting caught.

The pirates of the Caribbean were no different. Vicious, rapacious murderers, they had nothing in their minds beyond what was in it for them.  Although they had some degree of brotherhood between themselves, they were viewed as a plague, and their hangings were accompanied by cheers from those that witnessed it.

So, would a pirate walk about, surrounded by thieves and cutthroats, wearing a fortune dangling from his ears?  One has to wonder…

Another theory says that a pirate wore his fortune on his ears that he might get a decent burial. I be dead, says I, but use me earrings to afford me a grave, would ye?

As above, surrounded by thieves and cutthroats, one simply must wonder.

– Hey, mate,Bob just died. And he’s got a fortune in diamonds hanging from his ear.

-Don’t take them earrings, Jake. Bob wants us to use them to pay for his funeral.

-Bob’s dead, mate – he don’t need no funeral. Shove him over the side – but gimme them earrings, first.

Why did pirates wear earrings? Well, was they a sailor, it showed how many shipwrecks they survived. And, some chaps just liked the look of ’em. That’d be the true of it!


Now’s the Time to Read Marigold’s End


Today. Right now. This minute. Don’t delay!

Go here: Smashwords.com and download your free copy while you can still get it for free. This, my friend, is a limited time offer!

Here’s the synopsis:

Struggling to deal with the loss first of his father and then of best friend, priggish, arrogant twelve-year-old Phineas Caswell finds himself aboard a ship on the very sea that took them both away.

Phineas’ one goal in life is to become a “landed” gentleman, and to marry the exquisite Susannah Kilburn – lofty goals for a penniless twelve year old Bostonian in the year 1706. To his horror, he is taken to sea by his well-intentioned but rather daffy Uncle Neville. Phineas finds he must learn to make his way among the frightening, gruff sailors aboard the ship, must hold his own against desperate pirates, and look beyond the past to find the meanings of courage, friendship, and home.

Patrick Caswell, Phineas’ sea-captain father, has disappeared into the Caribbean, rumored to have turned pirate. The Spanish treasure ship Tres Hermanas has been taken by buccaneers. In her hold she carried a cargo that will change the map of Europe. Queen Anne of England has dispatched secret agents to recover the treasure. But what has become of the treasure? What happened to Patrick Caswell? Who are these agents? Only Red Suarez holds the key. But he’s the vicious, self-appointed pirate king of Port Royal. Leave it to Phineas to bumble his way into a stunning adventure filled with naval battles, chases, and an amazing, all encompassing hurricane.

The sailor’s life has much to teach Phineas. Although he is a reluctant student, Phineas, Taylor the cabin boy, and the French princess Louise find themselves face-to-face with cruel buccaneers, and must learn the most difficult lesson of all in adventure as vast as the sea itself.

So, don’t delay. Download your copy today! Marigold’s End, by John D Reinhart.