There exists a well accepted story of a fierce woman pirate, Anne Bonny, sailing aboard The Ranger, a 12 gun brigantine with a crew of 90 and which was captained by Jack Rackham. The Ranger was a mighty pirate ship that struck fear throughout the Caribbean. This is a wonderful story, but it isn’t accurate. The component parts in the story are true, however.
The Ranger was, indeed, a feared pirate ship, but for most of the time the captain was Charles Vane. Jack Rackham was the quartermaster until November 26, 1718 when he lead a successful mutiny against Vane and took command. They then sailed south and captured a large merchant vessel, The Kingston, outside Jamaica on December 11, 1718 and took their prize to Isla de la Pinos, an island south of Cuba which served as Rackham’s pirate base. However, angry merchants in Jamaica hired mercenaries who took the ship back shortly after, although the pirates were able to take a good deal of the booty ashore prior. Then, on February 19, 1719, a Spanish warship on patrol sighted The Ranger and destroyed it the next day. Anne Bonny never even saw The Ranger.
There was a woman on board with Jack Rackham, but it was not Anne Bonny. It was Mary Read, whom Rackham has recruited from a ship they attacked in May of 1718. At the time it was thought Mary was a man, she was dressed as a soldier and was good with a sword, but her sex was soon discovered and she became attached to Jack, such that when he took command she became the captain’s woman.
Anne Bonny at this time had just arrived in Nassau with James Bonny, her new husband, who would later become a government informer on the pirates, which would end up causing a rift in their marriage. Anne would meet Jack Rackham in 1720 and would later go to sea with him, and Mary Read, but it would be on a four gun sloop, The William, with a crew of 12.
More about this in the upcoming novel, Love Lust and Passion: The Real Story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read.