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The Mail Runner is a Ship Type available in Sid Meier's Pirates!. It is one of the smallest Ship Types in the game, and is the largest variant in the Pinnace Class family of ships. The Mail Runner carries more armament than the common Pinnace, comparable with that of a Sloop, while retaining much of the superior maneuverability and speed of its smaller siblings. Like other Pinnaces, it is used primarily to board enemy ships with little or no preceding gunplay. The Mail Runner is the second rarest ship in the entire Caribbean, and many players have never even seen one.

Icon Pirates2004 Header Pirates2004Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004)Edit

Ship Type
Mail Runner
Largest member of the Pinnace class
Smaller:
Pinnace
2004 Ship Pinnace
A tiny but lightning-quick boat
Prevalence: Extremely Rare
Physical Size: Very Small
Maneuverability: Very High
Durability: Very Low
Best Sailing Point: Beam Reach or Broad Beam Reach
Comparative Speed: Very High
Best Speed: High
Max. Cannons: 12 Icon Cannon
Max. Crew: 80 Icon Crew
Min. Crew: 8 Icon Crew
Ideal Crew (w/ Max Cannons): 44 Icon Crew
Cargo Capacity: 30 tons
Basic Sale Price: 225 Icon GoldCoin


In Sid Meier's Pirates!, the Mail Runner is the name of a Ship Type belonging to the Pinnace Class family of ships. It is the Largest variant of that class, packing slightly more firepower, cargo, and durability than its smaller siblings, at the expense of larger physical size and slightly reduced mobility.

The Mail Runner is a very fast and agile ship. It can develop speed very quickly, and will turn tighter than most other ships.

The Mail Runner carries up to 12 Cannons into battle, and can hold a Crew of up to 80 men. With less than 8 men available, the Mail Runner becomes sluggish and difficult to use. With at least 44 men and 12 cannons on board, the Mail Runner is at its maximum fighting efficiency.

A Mail Runner can carry up to 30 tons of cargo (including Cannon) - just enough to feed its entire crew for several months. If no cannons are loaded on board, the Mail Runner can carry some extra cargo, but not much.

When sold, a Mail Runner yields 225 Icon GoldCoin, plus 56 Icon GoldCoin for each upgrade installed on the ship. This assumes that the ship is at 100% condition, otherwise it is sold for less (down to 10 Icon GoldCoin if either sails or hull are all but gone).

Upgrades for a Mail Runner cost 400 Icon GoldCoin each. Once the rank of Admiral has been attained, Mail Runner upgrades will only cost 200 Icon GoldCoin each.

In the Player's HandsEdit

One nation/era combination will have the player starting off with a Mail Runner:

  • Spain, 1640.

The Mail Runner, being the largest variant of the Pinnace Class, trades some speed and maneuverability for a sturdier hull, larger cargo capacity, better armament and a larger crew.

Due to the combat techniques often associated with Pinnaces (see below), this trade-off is sometimes seen as less than worthwhile. The extra cargo capacity means that the Mail Runner is more comfortable carrying cannons into battle (and using them), giving it the equivalent firepower of a Sloop, while retaining higher maneuverability and speed. This also allows it to maintain a Pinnace's fast eastwards sailing speed on the campaign map.

Furthermore, unless you started the game with one (see above), acquiring a single Mail Runner can be exceptionally difficult, thanks to its extreme rarity.

For all these reasons, players who favour the Mail Runner are rare. Captains experienced with Pinnace-class ships tend to opt for its smaller, more plentiful variants such as the Pinnace or the remarkable War Canoe. However, the advantage of a larger cargo hold and crew is noticeable, giving the Mail Runner a better capability for Raids and for hauling cargo off captured ships without keeping them.

Roles and NationalityEdit

The Mail Runner is the second rarest ship in the entire game, after the Ship Of The Line. While it is used by all nations, it will only appear when the player has triggered a Treaty Mission, and will thus serve as the Treaty Ship for that mission. This occurs rarely, and there is no known method to encourage it.

There are no other known appearances of the Mail Runner in the game (aside from choosing Spain, 1640 as your career starting point, which nets you one right away).

In CombatEdit

As with all other Pinnace Class vessels, the Mail Runner's primary advantage lies in its speed and maneuverability, bestowed by its Fore-And-Aft Rigging.

The Mail Runner can sail comfortably at odd angles to the wind, easily clocking 10-12 knots at Beam Reach, its Best Sailing Point, and reaching several knots even Into The Eye. This allows it to outmaneuver most enemy ships in the game, and escape comfortably upwind when the captain wishes to avoid battle.

As with other Pinnaces, the Mail Runner is often used for a quick Boarding during battle, forgoing cannon play in favour of a quick resolution through Fencing. This naturally requires the player to have good sword skills. However, unlike other Pinnaces, the Mail Runner's small-but-reasonable armament means that the captain may wish to keep his guns on board, using them primarily to slow down other fast ships or whittle down the enemy's crew prior to the boarding. The Mail Runner's increased crew capacity also means that fencing matches are somewhat easier with this ship than with other Pinnace-class vessels.

Unfortunately, the downside to all this is that the Mail Runner is slightly slower, slightly less agile, and considerably larger than its Pinnace and War Canoe siblings.

Maneuverability is the Pinnace Class's best virtue, and giving up any of it may make combat more dangerous. The Mail Runner is also almost twice as large as a War Canoe, meaning that it is more likely to be hit by enemy fire, and is less likely to weave between cannonballs as the War Canoe often does. As it is not significantly more durable than a War Canoe or Pinnace, this means that combat is significantly more risky unless the captain learns how to compensate. If one learns the appropriate skill to do so, the Mail Runner's additional crew members (45 more than a Canoe, with Triple Hammocks installed) give a better chance of winning the ensuing Fencing match.

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