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Research I've Done Over the Last Few Weeks

I've done a bit of research regarding the topic of my NaNo novel over the past few weeks in an attempt to make my plot devices a bit more believable. It's important to write what you know, of course. At least, that's what they keep telling me. :)

First off, I need to tackle the ambiance of a pirate ship... In space... Hmm... Well, let's start off with the crew hierarchy, shall we?

I got the below information from a website called Swashbuckler's Cove, but it was all, of course, geared toward the historical pirate. I altered the info to fit my needs. :)

Captain: Eldon Whitlaw (See character profile HERE)
The captain of a pirate ship must possess the qualities of leadership and courage. Generally chosen for his daring and dominating character, a pirate captain is admired for his cruelty and destructiveness. A captain's power is absolute in time of chase or action, and he can discipline anyone who disobeyed his orders. He also has life and death power over anyone taken prisoner.

Quartermaster: Robert Oxford is a mixture of this, the next position, and the Sailing Master (See character profile HERE).
The quartermaster comes next after the captain in exercising authority over the pirate crew; he is in charge of the men when the ship is not in action. He can punish the men for insubordination and arbitrates minor disputes among the men. The quartermaster usually leads the attack and is the first to board the vessel. He is also in charge of food and water supplies. The quartermaster also assists in numerous tasks, including attending to the binnacle (box housing the compass), steering the ship, and navigational duties.

Ship's Master (Pilot): Once again, this is Robert Oxford.
The ship's master is an officer responsible for the sailing of the ship. He has to be a specialist in navigation and pilotage. He directs the course and provides himself with maps and instruments necessary for navigation.

The boatswain supervises the maintenance of the vessel and its supplies of naval stores (tar, pitch and tallow, spare sails, etc.). He is responsible for inspecting ships, sails and rigging each morning, and reporting their state to the captain. The boatswain is also in charge of all deck activities, including weighing and dropping anchor, and handling of the sails.

Sailing Master: Robert's 3rd position. Ah, what an overachiever he is.
The sailing master is in charge of navigation.

Master Gunner:
The master gunner is responsible for the ship's guns and ammunition. This includes checking for faulty wiring and cleanliness, insuring the weaponry is in good working condition.

The Technician is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the hull, masts and yards. He works under the direction of the ship's master and looks after the main tack and bowlines, or working the forecastle with the mate. The carpenter has no command and cannot give an order even to the smallest boy; yet he is a privileged person.

The Surgeon is responsible for inspections to judge the fitness of the new recruits and captives and treatment of the sick and wounded. While the owner of the ship must provide the surgeon with drugs, medicine, and other things necessary for treating sick persons during the voyage, the surgeon provides the instruments of his profession. The surgeon is not allowed to leave the vessel in which he was engaged before the voyage is accomplished. Frequently, these surgeons are forced into servitude because their knowledge is invaluable to a ship's success, but they aren't exactly keen on the idea of a career in piracy.

The cook's job is pretty self-explanatory. They cook and are the head of the kitchen staff. Case closed.

The Mate takes care of the fitting out of the vessel, and examines whether it is sufficiently provided with the appropriate rigging necessary for the voyage. At the departure he takes care of hoisting the anchor, and during the voyage he checks the tackle once a day. If he observes anything amiss, he acquaints the ship's master. Arriving at a tort, the mate causes the cables and anchors to be repaired, and takes care of the management of the sails, yards and mooring of the ship. In case of absence or sickness of the ship's master, the mate commands in his place.

Powder Monkey:
In contrast to a pirate officer who was elected, the Powder Monkey is forced to perform what is some of the most dangerous work on the ship. They are harshly treated and rarely paid, and if they avoided being mortally wounded in their service, desertion is probably as attractive as a lifelong position of servitude with little to no hope of promotion.

So that's all of that, friends. I'll be posting more of my research over the next few days. Yay! :) Don't worry, I know that the world is kind of pirated out, so it won't all be pirate-themed. I figure, though, that the majority if my novel is going to be placed on board a ship so it's kind of important that I know what goes on there.



Lisa said…
VERY interesting, especially that the Captain is in charge of the men only when the ship is in action. Never knew that. I like "Powder Monkey."

How are you feeling??
Stef Howerton said…
I'm feeling better. I've never slept so much in my entire life, but I'm still feeling better than I have been. So thumbs up! :)
Lisa said…
Good to hear. This virus makes you slleeeeppppyyyyy.

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