In the life of a privateer there are different moments, there are moments when it can be exciting, it can be tedious, it can be boring, it can be stressful and dangerous. They are monotonous trips, in harsh conditions that you don’t really know, like when you enter a hospital, when you enter but not when you leave. The qualifier could be toughness: Submission to inclement weather, to being able to go hungry, to a life on board that was very hard. And much more the moment of an attack, it is a stressful moment.
Sleep at times on a boat and more so on a privateering boat, when the bell rings, you have to run away, therefore, you sleep half an hour or sleep two or sleep three when you can and they leave you.
We have to bear in mind that on a sailing boat there is always work. You have to watch, you have to be visualizing, because you also search, you do the corso, you search. You are looking for prey to capture and possible enemies to flee from.
When you are not on duty, because on the ship there are always people on duty, watching the sails, watching whatever it is, you are working, maintaining, doing maintenance, cleaning, painting, fixing things, because the sea eats it all, the erosion of the sea against the ship is continuous.
An obligatory reason for any boater is to stop every so often to recharge the holds with fresh water.
Each person consumes a lot of water, during the day, if they also have to row, they have to make a physical effort, they sweat, they become dehydrated, and, in addition, if it is hot they use much more water.
The food on the corsair routes was quite meager. As they did not know when they were coming back, they had to be as imperishable as possible, that is, dried meat, salted fish, some vegetables such as peas, legumes, rice, and all that with a sailor’s bread that, as it was double cooked, was more difficult to rot.
Living together on a boat, if they embark as rowers in the Middle Ages, people who are in jail, who are common criminals, that can aggravate the relationship between them. In a boat there can be 200 men, together in a space of 40 meters long by 6 wide, therefore they are all side by side. If there is a patient, it is very easy for the disease to spread. There may be a flu or the plague
During the crossings the downtimes had to be killed in some way. There was, of course, a card game and two galleons were in the middle of the sea, they took out their champions and, on catwalks, they faced them with wrestling. There is a seafaring tradition that encourages sticking, even in Menorca we have a name for this hand-to-hand fight called “Joc Mahonés”.
“Fight mayonnaise”, which is not so much about the corsair on board but rather the whole tavern theme related to the corsairs in the port. It is a fight with an open fist and for information I tell you that there is a blow called “backhand and low touch”. That is to say, very rough, very street blows.