The Real Ships Of Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean

14,666 views  |   September 6th, 2022 

This blog is going to look at some of the real ships of Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean. Filming out at sea as always been a tricky task. From the natural movement of the sea to uncontrollable weather conditions. It’s no wonder so many classic sailing movies were filmed in water tanks on Hollywood backlots. Occasionally a film will come along striving for realism and authenticity, filming at sea on real ships. Master & Commander comes to mind, but with such realism comes huge expense. The film had a budget of $150 million, a huge amount for 2003. Such a huge budget was always going to be hard to make back. While the film went on to make $211 million, when you factor in other costs such as marketing, Master & Commander would have made a small but respectable profit.

That is why i find the first Pirates Of The Caribbean such an interesting story. Not only did industry expert think Disney mad spending $140 million on a film based off an animatronic theme park ride, many wrote the film off when it came to light Director Gore Verbinski and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer intended to shoot on location with as many real ships as possible. But it was a gamble that paid off with the first film, Curse Of The Black Pearl making $654 million at the box office. The franchise as a whole across five films has made $4.5 billion with more films to come.

The Real Ships Of Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean

The Real Ships Of Disney's Pirates Of The Caribbean

Sunset (The Black Pearl)

Sunset is a 109 foot propeller driven boat that had once serviced oil derricks in the Gulf of Mexico. However from the outside she very much looks like a tall ship straight out of the 18th century. During production of the Cures Of The Black Pearl, the set was build onto of a barge. While a convincing set was built and looked great on film the size of the deck was limited to the dimensions of the barge making filming a challenge. For the second film Dead Man’s Chest a new approach was taken. The producers wanted a sea worthy vessel this time.

The set for the Black Pearl was re-created on the decks of Sunset extending down to just below her waterline. From the outside she looked like a old and fearsome pirate ship, but under the shell she was still the same old Sunset, with the bunk space, engines and galley all being kept as they were. Eight months before the start of filming the work was completed in a dockyard in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. The new look Sunset was then sailed almost 2000 nautical miles to the filming location in Dominica.

The Real Ships Of Disney's Pirates Of The Caribbean

Lady Washington (HMS Interceptor)

A 112ft brig, lady Washington is a replica of the original 18th Century ship by the same name, built in Washington State, USA in 1989. She would be used in various media from film to television. Her first known appearance was as the USS Enterprise in the movie Star Trek: Generations. Being used in film and TV for many years she would end up plaything the role of the HMS Interceptor in Curse Of The Black Pearl.

For the filming, The Lady Washington sailed for 40 days from Long Beach California to the Isle Of St. Vincent. There is a wonderful documentary on the DVD for Curse Of The Black Pearl documenting the voyage, from the crew seeing dolphins, spending Christmas day in the panama canal and her jib bow snapping off during a storm.

The Real Ships Of Disney's Pirates Of The Caribbean

HMS Bounty (Edinburgh Trader)

The HMS Bounty was built in 1960 by Smith and Ruhland in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, for the film Mutiny on the Bounty. She portrayed the notorious British Royal Navy ship of the same name. Since it was built specifically for filming, it was constructed with unusually large rooms. She was used in the second film Dead Man’s Chest as The Edinburgh Trader, a merchant ship destroyed by a Kraken.

When not used for filming, the Bounty was open to the public. Tours were conducted at Tall Ship shows and people could sail with the ship for a fee. The Bounty also recreated the voyage of the original ship. She was crewed by a combination of volunteers and paid crew men. While no experience was necessary to join the volunteer crew, they required some time spent working on restoration or dockside maintenance. On October 29, 2012, the Bounty sank off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy. The crew was forced to abandon ship, and at least one crewmember was killed. You can read more about the sinking here.

The Real Ships Of Disney's Pirates Of The Caribbean

If the real ships of Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean caught you attention. You can find out more about learning to sail here.


Posted by: First Class Sailing


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