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Old 10-09-2021, 13:15   #1
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Need alternative to Pirate flag

I may be getting cranky as I age but it seems to me that a good percentage of recreational boaters where I currently cruise, mostly the locals, fly a pirate flag on their boat.

Pirates were outlaws, thieves, robbers, killers and slave traders. These same people (most of them anyway) would not dream of flying a Nazi flag on their boat , so why is it so cool and popular to fly a pirate flag that represents really BAD people?

Id love to fly a flag that represents the values and lifestyle of being a cruiser- freedom, world travel, appreciation and care for our planet, and respect and friendship with the people and cultures we encounter, etc.

Were the GOOD guys, right?

I know we have burgees and such, but they have no meaning unless youre in that club. Id love to find a replacement for the boaters flying pirate flags that would be cool and make a positive statement.

Any idea what flag we might fly that represents cruisers and our values?
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Old 10-09-2021, 13:50   #2
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

I agree with you about pirate flags. To me, they mean utterly despicable rape and pillage. Try mentioning it in a meeting sometime. (No, don't. The reaction is not very pleasant.) ...But, for some reason piracy has been romanticized to the extent that people think the flags mean fun. So, it would be an uphill battle, against Walt Disney's millions, and possibly, all of capitalism.

One of the sailing clubs has an orange soaring bird on a white background with medium blue edges, so there's a sunny day, deep blue sea and a very free bird....

Good luck with the notion, but you have to keep the concepts simple, easily portrayed, and that may be a lot harder.

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Old 10-09-2021, 14:20   #3
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

The late Dan Bombigher designed this flag:
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Old 10-09-2021, 14:32   #4
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

You might want to do some research into privateering outside of pop-culture.
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Old 10-09-2021, 15:15   #5
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

I haven't researched this yet, but is the classic skull and crossbones flag really just an overused clich, or the historically accurate flag of one or more of the actual pirates?

For me, "pirates" were cartoon stereotypes (eg Peter Pan's "Captain Hook") long before I knew anything about the history of piracy. And given the letters of marque handed out by countries, can we say with certainty that they were all bloodthirsty rapey pillaging criminals, or were some more like mercenaries given a licence to attack and rob the vessels of specific "enemy" countries?

I'm asking here, I don't know.

Nowadays, to me the pirate flag flown on a recreational boat seems little more than a declaration that the owner likes to party, and that there will probably also be rum drinks, a paper parrot, and Jimmy Buffett tunes aboard. I don't have any visceral reaction other than maybe ewww...tacky.
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Old 10-09-2021, 15:35   #6
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV__Grace View Post
I may be getting cranky as I age but it seems to me that a good percentage of recreational boaters where I currently cruise, mostly the locals, fly a pirate flag on their boat.

Pirates were outlaws, thieves, robbers, killers and slave traders. These same people (most of them anyway) would not dream of flying a Nazi flag on their boat , so why is it so cool and popular to fly a pirate flag that represents really BAD people?

Id love to fly a flag that represents the values and lifestyle of being a cruiser- freedom, world travel, appreciation and care for our planet, and respect and friendship with the people and cultures we encounter, etc.

Were the GOOD guys, right?

I know we have burgees and such, but they have no meaning unless youre in that club. Id love to find a replacement for the boaters flying pirate flags that would be cool and make a positive statement.

Any idea what flag we might fly that represents cruisers and our values?
Maybe because they think pirates were the only cruisers back then 😜

Badness is praised, its fashionable.
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Old 10-09-2021, 15:47   #7
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

How about a CF Burgee?
Available here ➥ https://www.cruisersforum.com/burgee.html



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Old 10-09-2021, 15:49   #8
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
I haven't researched this yet, but is the classic skull and crossbones flag really just an overused clich, or the historically accurate flag of one or more of the actual pirates?
There were many flags used with variations. This etsy listing has some examples that, while cleaned up and presented more artistically, are representative.

https://www.etsy.com/sg-en/listing/7...lags-3x5-jolly

A google search on "pirate flag historic" will turn up many designs including some on Wikimedia Commons.

Quote:
For me, "pirates" were cartoon stereotypes (eg Peter Pan's "Captain Hook") long before I knew anything about the history of piracy. And given the letters of marque handed out by countries, can we say with certainty that they were all bloodthirsty rapey pillaging criminals, or were some more like mercenaries given a licence to attack and rob the vessels of specific "enemy" countries?
For sailors during the golden age of sail, piracy was more a matter of circumstance than personal choice; few if any sailors had the luxury of selecting whether to join a navy, a merchant vessel, or a pirate vessel. As you point out there was some overlap and possession of letters of marque did not change the inherently violent nature of these conflicts. And it would be a stretch to say that on the whole sailors in one or another navy led more moral and uplifting lives than pirates of the era.

See the book "Pirates: A New History, from Vikings to Somali Raiders" by Peter Lehr for a thorough treatment of the subject.

Another fact to consider is that sailors of the era -- whether on a vessel serving naval, merchant, or piratical ends -- were not materially more prone to violence and abuse of power than their land-bound peers pursing the life of a soldier, merchant, or bandit. Whether men and women of today choose to pursue lives of greater forbearance, mercy, and self-restraint or are merely more effectively held in check by the strictures of society and law is a more difficult question to answer.


Quote:
Nowadays, to me the pirate flag flown on a recreational boat seems little more than a declaration that the owner likes to party, and that there will probably also be rum drinks, a paper parrot, and Jimmy Buffett tunes aboard. I don't have any visceral reaction other than maybe ewww...tacky.
Sure, the meaning of symbols changes over time. After all, the swastika was widely interpreted as a symbol of good luck and prosperity prior to it being co-opted by the Wehrmacht in the 1930s. Symbols also mean different things to different people, so it pays to be careful. In my own life I am cautious in displaying symbols that could be misunderstood as allegiance to ideas or people who I do not actually support.

I find the display of the pirate flag to be in poor taste outside of contexts of fantasy and history.
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Old 10-09-2021, 15:56   #9
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
There were many flags used with variations. This etsy listing has some examples that, while cleaned up and presented more artistically, are representative.

https://www.etsy.com/sg-en/listing/7...lags-3x5-jolly

A google search on "pirate flag historic" will turn up many designs including some on Wikimedia Commons.


For sailors during the golden age of sail, piracy was more a matter of circumstance than personal choice; few if any sailors had the luxury of selecting whether to join a navy, a merchant vessel, or a pirate vessel. As you point out there was some overlap and possession of letters of marque did not change the inherently violent nature of these conflicts. And it would be a stretch to say that on the whole sailors in one or another navy led more moral and uplifting lives than pirates of the era.

See the book "Pirates: A New History, from Vikings to Somali Raiders" by Peter Lehr for a thorough treatment of the subject.

Another fact to consider is that sailors of the era -- whether on a vessel serving naval, merchant, or piratical ends -- were not materially more prone to violence and abuse of power than their land-bound peers pursing the life of a soldier, merchant, or bandit. Whether men and women of today choose to pursue lives of greater forbearance, mercy, and self-restraint or are merely more effectively held in check by the strictures of society and law is a more difficult question to answer.


Sure, the meaning of symbols changes over time. After all, the swastika was widely interpreted as a symbol of good luck and prosperity prior to it being co-opted by the Wehrmacht in the 1930s. Symbols also mean different things to different people, so it pays to be careful. In my own life I am cautious in displaying symbols that could be misunderstood as allegiance to ideas or people who I do not actually support.

I find the display of the pirate flag to be in poor taste outside of contexts of fantasy and history.
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Old 10-09-2021, 16:00   #10
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

i agree 100% with ann - piracy is criminal and an abomination (not long ago piracy was a hanging offence). i have friends who have suffered at the hands of pirates and displaying a 'pirate' flag is no joke

agree it's the same a showing a nazi or sea shepherd flag

apart from the various cruising club flags, here in oz these are common substitutes ;

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the middle one is the eureka stockade flag which very roughly equates to the us confederate flag, without the slavery connotations

the boxing kangaroo should need no explanation to a us audience but for others, it became a symbol used by Australia II when winning the R.Y.S. 100 Cup

cheers,
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Old 10-09-2021, 19:29   #11
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

I vaguely recall that flying the Jolly Roger indicates that you do not intend to adhere to the law.
If that is correct, then feel free to go over to the boat displaying the Jolly Roger and help yourself to anything you fancy. If they complain, point out that they have declared themselves to be outside the law!
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Old 10-09-2021, 20:04   #12
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

Please excuse me while my eyes roll into the next zip code.

This flag represents evil people in the same manner that the Union Jack represents colonial imperialism—200 years ago, maybe. Its meaning has long since changed, like many symbols tend to do.

I served in a military unit, and flew with another, that used the Jolly Roger as its official insignia. Navy JAG commands run it up the flag pole on base when trial defense counsel wins a case. It is very commonly used in the submarine service, especially the Royal Navy. I could go on and on. Its meaning has long since changed from representing piracy to representing rebellion against the system and victory at sea.

Claiming that this flag is the same as the Nazi flag is beyond ridiculous.

Stop looking to be offended and go fly a dayshape, or whatever it is wet blankets do for fun.
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Old 10-09-2021, 21:08   #13
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

For me, any boat that flies a pirate flag is signalling that the owner is an unknowledgable sailor, to be avoided.
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Old 10-09-2021, 21:23   #14
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
I haven't researched this yet, but is the classic skull and crossbones flag really just an overused clich, or the historically accurate flag of one or more of the actual pirates?

(Deletia)
I read somewhere that no pirate ever flew a skull and crossbones flag. They flew flags of convenience. For example, when they were chasing a British ship, they'd fly a British flag so they could get close enough (surprise!!) to fire their cannons. They wouldn't fly a skull and crossbones flag because that would obviously mark them as pirates when they crossed paths with merchantmen and men-of-war.
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Old 11-09-2021, 01:11   #15
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Re: Need alternative to Pirate flag

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Stating the obvious, but people fly the pirate flag to attempt to symbolize some sort of free rebel spirit, not because they actually celebrate killing and theft.
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