2004 Ship Pinnace

A Pinnace-Class Ship.

The Pinnace Class is a family of ship designs featured in Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004). It includes the War Canoe, Pinnace, and Mail Runner. All three of these Ship Types share the same physical appearance, and have similar characteristics.

Pinnace-Class ships are the smallest available vessels, but make up for this with extreme maneuverability and a general lack of regard for wind directions both on the Sailing Map and during Naval Combat.


The Pinnace Class is a set of three Ship Types. Collectively, they are known as "Pinnace-Class Ships", and sometimes simply as "Pinnaces".

Each of the three ship types is referred to as a "Variant" of the Pinnace Class.

  • The Smallest Variant is known as a War Canoe.
  • The Mid-sized Variant is simply called a Pinnace.
  • The Largest Variant is called a Mail Runner.

Although all variants share the same 3D model, they can be distinguished by size. The War Canoe is the smallest of these, and in fact the smallest ship in the entire game. The Mail Runner is the largest of the three.

All ship characteristics are also similar between these variants. The War Canoe, being the smallest, can hold less Cargo, Crew and Cannons than the others. However, it is slightly faster and more maneuverable, and benefits from its incredibly tiny size. The Mail Runner, the largest variant, holds more Cargo, Crew and Cannons, but is slightly slower than the others. The Pinnace sits comfortably in the middle, having "average" statistics compared to the other two.

Visual AppearanceEdit

2004 Ship Pinnace 3.4

A Pinnace as seen inside the game.

Pinnace Class ships are exceptionally small - for all intents and purposes they are no more than large boats.

These ships have a single-decked hull, long and narrow. This makes them very small targets, and thus very hard to hit.

Pinnace Class ships are fitted with two Lateen sails, installed against a single mast.

Sailing PropertiesEdit

The Lateen sails on a Pinnace-Class ship, coupled with its low mass, allow it to maintain good speed regardless of its direction to the wind. It can even maintain good speed when going Into The Eye, something most other ships find difficult if not impossible.

The Pinnace-Class achieves maximum velocity when heading at Broad Beam Reach or Beam Reach. It can easily outsail all other ships when heading in this direction, relative to the wind.

Therefore, the Pinnace-Class is the least affected by wind direction. It will sail at a great speed when going westwards, and at a reasonable speed when going eastward. This makes it exceptionally good for captains who require moving all around the Caribbean quickly, and few ships can escape it.

Combat PropertiesEdit

Pinnace Class ships are the lightest and least armed of all vessels. Even the largest variant, the Mail Runner, can carry no more than 12 cannons into battle. This makes them very poor for gunplay.

Nonetheless, being the most maneuverable of ships, the Pinnace dominates the battlefield by being extremely hard to hit. Its tiny size already means that the enemy must be pretty lucky to hit it, and the Pinnace can sometimes even dodge between cannonballs whenever required, thanks to its ability to turn on a dime. In addition, the Pinnace can gain exceptional speed when going at Broad Beam Reach. This enables closing the distance with the enemy very quickly.

Therefore, Pinnaces are mainly used for quick Boardings. They can dodge the enemy's fire, close the distance very rapidly, Board the enemy, and hope to win the Fencing match. For this reason, some players forgo the use of cannons in combat entirely, saving precious cargo space for Food instead.

Note that all Pinnaces have low Durability, meaning they must avoid being hit at all costs. Damage to the sails is particularly problematic, as speed and maneuverability are the Pinnace's best weapon. A damaged Pinnace Class ship can easily be overwhelmed and possibly sunk.

Nonetheless, undamaged Pinnaces rarely have a problem escaping combat. They can turn to Broad Beam Reach to gain superior speed that no other vessel can match if it tries to give chase.