Pirates happen to be some of the most controversial characters in all of history. Some see them as cool bad guys fighting each other and gnarly sea creatures, while others see them as robbers and murderers who know no boundaries in their search for the epic booty. And there’s one important thing they all had in common — badass pirate ships.
Here are the top nine legendary pirate ships you would probably not want to board.
The Adventure was a flagship of the legendary pirate Captain William Kidd. It was a frigate galley equipped with special oars that made it easier to maneuver the vessel during storms, but it also had big sails for the calm weather. The Adventure’s crew counted over 150 scurvy rats that were always up for some abordage shenanigans.
2. Queen Anne’s Revenge
Queen Anne’s Revenge was the legendary vessel of the infamous Captain Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. Until 1717, this ship had a different name – “Concorde,” but the reason why Teach changed it still remains a mystery. Some think that it was his nostalgia for the past, when Teach was in the navy during Queen Anne’s reign.
The famous flagship “Whydah” was in the hands of Black Sam Bellamy. Historians claim that the ship was named in honor of the city of Ouidah, located on the territory of modern Benin. The vessel was first hit the water in 1715 in London and was intended to transport slaves from Africa. Unlucky for Black Sam and his crew, the ship was eventually caught in a storm, leaving only the barely-breathing captain and a handful of crew members adrift.
4. Royal Fortune
This ship belonged to the famous Welsh pirate John Roberts, better known as Bartholomew Roberts. He spread his influence in the Caribbean and in the Atlantic, managing to capture over 400 ships. In 1719, leaving on a captured vessel in pursuit of a brigantine, he was betrayed by his own matey Walter Kennedy and the crew who deserted him. Then Roberts named his newly acquired ship “Fortune” and forced the remaining crew to swear allegiance on the Bible or walk the plank.
“Fancy” was sailed by Henry Every – one of the luckiest pirates out there. The Fancy was originally called the Charles II, a 30-cannon frigate whose crew loved robbing French merchant ships. When a riot eventually broke out, Every seized power there and renamed the ship. After a couple of dozen plundered vessels, everyone and their mothers were scared of the Fancy or even talking about Captain Every out loud.
6. Happy Delivery
This small but glorious vessel helped the famous English pirate George Lauter sail the Atlantic and the Caribbean in the 18th century. His favorite technique was to ram the pursued vessel at full speed and then quickly board it, killing everyone who tried to resist. “Delivery” was a very proper name for such tactics.
7. Rising Sun
This ship with a beautiful name belonged to one of the most ruthless criminals — Christopher Moody, who did not take anyone prisoner on principle, preferring to send the captives to the afterlife quickly. Therefore, having seen the 35-cannon frigate with a bright and very recognizable flag on the horizon (aptly named, too), most of the ships sought to slip away as quickly as possible.
During the golden age of swashbuckling pirates, there was this Creole pirate, John Bowen, who sailed on a large 50-cannon ship, the Speaker. Initially, the Speaker was used to transport slaves, but when Bowen got his hands on it, they began to feverishly hunt every ship they came across, becoming the most feared pirates in the area.
This 10-cannon vessel was sailed by Stede Bonnet, who was called the “the Gentleman Pirate” because of his blue-blooded ancestors. The Revenge was a small and agile craft that managed to sink larger ships with unholy ease. The life of the ship, though short, was eventful: at first, it was owned by a small landowner, then Blackbeard, then it was seized by the Government, and then Captain Bonnet made it his home.