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AC4 The Benjamin

A schooner, the Benjamin

The schooner is a ship characterized by fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts. It was a class of warship operated by, among others, the British, Spanish and Portuguese navies.

During the Golden Age of Piracy, the schooner was used as a general sailing vessel by not only the navies, but civilian operators as well. This lightly armed vessel provided ample speed and could be crewed by as few as five people. Schooners most often bore two masts, and was capable of fielding up to 8 guns per side over a single deck; on top of this, they were fitted with fire barrels.

When in battle, schooners of this era generally used their speed and fire barrels to outmaneuver and entrap enemies. They avoided extended broadsides and rarely slowed to use their cannons, preferring to skim past and fire. They often accompanied ships of every size, serving as support vessels. Because these qualities, they were a favourite of many pirates due to their ability to run circles around larger ships. Notable among these was Benjamin Hornigold, who captained a schooner called the Benjamin and used her for many years before she ended up beached on the Santanillas islands. 

Notable schooners


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