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By Johnnie E. Templeton Jr.
Since the beginning of the eleventh century piracy plagued the seas of the world. Many famous pirates, such as Sweyn Forkbeard, Stortbeker, Redbeard also known as Barbarossa, and Klein Hanslein also known as Little Jack, brought fear to many who sailed across the open ocean. During this time and up to the golden age of piracy of the late 1600’s, many struggled to end this scourge of the seas.
The newly colonized northern boundaries of South America had brought Spain much wealth. War with the natives eventually led to a split from Spain, and eventual peace with the natives of the land. A woman, whom the natives deemed was born from the spirits, led this new faction. England also offered support, in hopes of gaining another foothold in the new world. This is that story long forgotten in the pages of history.
Sir Lucky Jack paced the stern, as he sailed Durango out of the newly established port of Cumarebo, setting sail to his highness in Coro. He had to petition for funds to pursue his endeavors. He wished to capture the so-called Pirate cove, which was threatening shipping from and to Venezuela. Someone or something was building an unknown force, and the fort needed to be eradicated, to secure the safety of the area. The Governor had asked him on this dangerous mission only because, he knew a small fleet could sneak in. As Jack sailed west he saw a fleet heading south flying the banners of Puerto Rico. He swiftly sailed to their starboard and as the sun rose he tacked hard to engage the threat.
The maneuver worked beautifully flanking the unsuspecting victims. With the wind gauge on his side, he planned to split up their formation. His tactic was to first hit the transport ships. With nerves of steal, and break neck speed Jack maneuvered in between the two ships. His pep talk consisted of those famous words, “To Battle!” Coming from behind silently as the crew awoke groggy and slow. Jack ordered, “Fire!” Twelve Cannons of raw power, sliced through ships on either side.
Still heading south, his crew quickly reloaded. They began to chant, “Way hey blow the man down!” Again his well-aimed guns quickly took out two masts one on each ship. The sails fell like a tree. “Timber!” the men shouted with laughter. Quickly, he tacked starboard into the rising sun to blind his escape. Once well hidden he turned to await the two escort vessels. He again spoke, ” Make ready the silver ware!” He checked his sails and they were full of wind. Good speed would be the key here.
The two frigates were ready to board, knowing they were more than a match for the sloop. They just didn’t know they were fighting the young Privateer Sir Lucky Jack, the sworn protector of his majesty Queen Sunruy. Both of Durango’s batteries fired and decimated the men, as they flanked his sides to board. Yet the captain lived. His white handkerchief went up upon his saber. He waved it frantically. ” Go strike your colors and I will let you live.” Jack exclaimed. “Agreed!” Said the captain and he headed to retrieve them. Sir Lucky Jack commanded his crew to throw the hooks. They quickly came aside and he swung across.
Sir Lucky Jack looked, and barely missed the blade piercing towards his chest. A deadly blow it would of been. He parried as he drew his saber. With two strokes and a jab, Jack had the captain pinned against the stairs. “Sir! Do not kill me!” Jack replied, “What is your name Dog!” The shaking captain answered, “Captain Mercado” Then Lucky Jack ordered his crew to tie him to the mast and load the goods from the four ships. What was left of the crews agreed to join him, but only one ship was sailable back to the port. They quickly striped what was left of the other three ships and patched up one of the frigates.
The loot was good and he knew his hostage would make him a small bounty. He knew though he had to move. He ordered everyone to move west once again. Jack’s first mate entered his cabin and announced some great news, “Captain we also procured two perfect condition cannons aboard the frigate hidden in a secret compartment. His eyes lit up and he sat up walking out his door, “Ahoy that makes all I need for good old Durango. Now she has fourteen of the best. Shall we name them?” The crew agreed, “Aye!” He pondered for a moment then announced, “Let us name this one Miss Becky.” The men cheered.
He continued once the anticipation renewed, “She was a nice lass. She always tried to feed me bass. I’d take a swig of ale. She would hit me over the head with a pail. Till one day she pinched me flank. Guess what I told her? I told her to walk the plank!” Laughter resonated across the water and quickly silence over took them.
Durango with the frigate in tow continued on into the setting sun…
To be continued… READ PART TWO HERE