By coincidence, the vessel that played the role of Blackbeard's pirate ship in the Friday premier of "Crossbones" -- the NBC series inspired by my book, The Republic of Pirates -- was in Rockland, Maine over the weekend. (That's the one in the picture above.) My son and I went up and had a look.
The vessel is the schooner Amistad, a replica of the two-masted schooner seized by its cargo of slaves in 1839, who eventually won their freedom in a U.S. court (a story dramatized in the 1997 movie of the same name.) The current schooner was built at Mystic Seaport.
Unfortunately for me, the Amistad cycles through crew quickly, and there was nobody aboard who had been with the vessel late last year, when she in Puerto Rico for the filming of "Crossbones." Thus I was denied a chance to ask the important questions: is John Malkovich afraid of the water? How did they go about simulating a naval battle? How long did it take to film the five minutes of shipboard action at the opening of the pilot episode?
Another time perhaps.
Meanwhile, Amistad, Malkovich and "Crossbones" will be back on the small screen this Friday night at 10 Eastern. If you missed the first installment, its available free online. And for those itching to know more about who Blackbeard was before the fantasy events in the show -- which take place a decade or more after the pirate's (supposed?) death -- you'll want to be reading my book.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.