Alternate Rigs for the Piragua in Blood & Plunder

The Piragua is a great little ship in the game of Blood & Plunder. It’s fast, aggressive, and flexible and not a lot of downsides. Except the sails. I’ve never been a big fan of the plain, square sails that are the default for the Piragua. So I tried some other sail and rigging setups and here they are!

Standard Square Sail Rigged Piragua

First let’s look at a standard, square rigged piragua. There seems to be period drawings of piraguas or similar vessels using small, square sails. So there’s no real reason you have to reinvent the rigging setup. Unless you just don’t like it. Or you have more than one Piragua in your fleet and you want some variety.

This rig is simple, easy, can be used right out of the box, and doesn’t get in the way of gameplay at all. All you have to do is cut two squares of paper or cloth and tie them up to those simple masts.

Two Piraguas leading an attack

Spritsail and Jib Rig for the Piragua

While reading Benerson Little’s blog, I ran into this image and it inspired me to take on this project. This drawing appears to be from Labat’s journal and it shows a Piragua using a spritsail and jib sail.

This is a considerably different setup that required a little modification tot he hull of the ship.

Cheap bamboo skewers served me well on several occasions during this project. Green Stuff filled in the original mast holes nicely, then I drilled holes for the mast, the bowsprit and the spritsail spar.

Secured the various bits of rigging to the hull by drilling a small hole partway into the hull, then jam the line into the hole with a pin with a drop of glue on it.

I’m not sure how functional this rig would actually be, but I think it looks pretty cool and it leaves plenty of room for gaming so it’s a success for me.

Fore-and-Aft Rigged Piragua

This rig, featuring two small gaff sails, changes the character of the boat entirely!

From my limited research, this seemed to be an English style rig for boats of this size.

Again, I had to fill the original holes for the masts and re-drill for proper spacing.

Bamboo skewers worked well again for this project.

Lug Sail Rigged Piragua

And my new favorite, the funky lug sail rig!

Lug sails seem pretty common and they have a lot of variation. They appear to be a bit of a cross between a lateen rig and a square sail.

This 1674 engraving of a lug rigged piragua has taller, almost square sails set at an angle.

This 17th century rebuild has wider sails at a more rakish angle. I decided to copy this version and go more towards the lateen look.

Cutting the sails to shape was the hardest part on this project. I assembled the masts then cut my pattern with the proper angle, then fine-tuned from there.

I chose to leave off extra rigging components for now for ease of game play.

Materials & Tools Used

The materials and tools you need to re rig a Piragua are simple and cheap:

  • Elastic Thread for rigging
  • Thread to lash mast and spars together
  • Wooden Craft Skewers
  • Heavy Weight Paper a shade of white or off-white
  • Glue
  • Brown paint or wash for staining masts
  • Drill bit the size of your masts.
  • Small drill bit for sails and rigging

Final Thoughts

The piragua is powerful and multipurpose boat in Blood & Plunder. I hope you enjoyed these alternate takes on the rig for this boat.

These various sail set ups could probably all have their own game stats, but there is no official rules for something like that so I’ll just be using the standard Piragua stats for any and all of these boats.

I really should have done a lateen rigged piragua as well, but I guess my lug sail version fills that slot pretty well.

Thanks for reading! Which rig do you like the best? Have you experimented with alternate rigs for the piragua or have another rigging system I could try?

Article by Joseph Forster

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