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Where will the pirate collection go?

  • Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I was in shock when I learned that the “Queen Anne’s Revenge” restaurant suddenly closed its doors. Personally, I am very sad about its demise for several reasons.

It is natural for me to be curious to see where my husband Bill’s (William G. Thomas-Moore/Ship Shapes Maritime Gallery), beautiful ship model of the QAR will be anchored next.

Where will the QAR Ship Model end up? If I had the wherewithal to find a venue for its display here in Charleston, that would be optimum. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Commentary

Since the QAR restaurant’s grand opening in 2001, I estimate that thousands of tourists/visitors have viewed this finely crafted eight-foot by seven-foot model.

The restaurant was also notable for its fine, authentic, antique collection of pirate artifacts and memorabilia, including weaponry such as: pistols, swords, larger guns, tools, crockery, original paintings and other accessories. This amazing collection was gathered from all over the world. The QAR restaurant was not only a popular dining spot, it was known throughout the world.

Tourists came from all over the world. Bill and I highly recommended it to customers in our Ship Shapes Maritime Gallery, to friends and other visitors we met along the way. We suggested that the food was excellent, and the decor offered an unique dining experience for families, young and older, and for anyone interested in pirate and maritime history. As customers, Bill and I enjoyed our meals there many times over the years.

In 2006, when Bill and I held an event through the Charleston Harbor Society at the Harbour Club, we engaged speaker Mike Daniel, one of the first divers of the team to locate what they believe is the authentic QAR ship, which sank off the coast of Beaufort, N.C.

Mike gave a slide presentation of their discoveries, and of a few of the artifacts found on the ship.

Pirate museum

The QAR was best known as a “pirate museum” and was one of kind, we were told, perhaps, in the world, while serving a dual purpose.

The restaurant was especially geared to families on Daniel Island, as well as from “off.” It was a popular tourist destination.

I wish we could locate a venue here in Charleston, where we can shift the collection and the model for public viewing.

History

In the fall of 2000, on the recommendation of master craftsman, Tony Bakker commissioned Bill Thomas-Moore to build the ship. It took nine months.

Amazingly, he handcrafted the ship from only one long, sizable piece of wood. The model is scratch built, and he custom framed it and added thousands of pegs, a number of planks and even furnished the captain’s cabin with a miniature bed, linens, curtains, desk, chair, window and, as a bonus, the captain’s cloak which hangs over his chair.

Bill and I wrote about the timeline, his steps and materials he used in building the ship which was put on a plaque next to the ship.

Before he started, he did the research about that time period and what could be the type and design of what the ship might look like based on its function on the high seas. Considering there was no verification, captain’s notes, plans, sketches, let alone detailed drawings of structure and design, he surmised what it could look like based on the period and its purpose.

Contrary to popular opinion, this kind of ship, unlike most tall ships of the time, or the replicas in Hollywood films, e.g. “Master and Commander” or the “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Blackbeard must have used a light, sleek, shallow hull - a fast boat that run in and out quietly, stealthily, quickly and easily through the shallow waters of the ports of call targets, the harbors, without notice and fanfare.

Like a privateer or blockade runner, as the story unfolds, Captain Blackbeard managed to follow his course into Charleston Harbor, and was able to get to the port and hold the city captive for several weeks.

His mission was to force Charleston officials to supply him and his crew with vital medical supplies and other goods. It worked.

My mission is to see where the Queen Anne’s Revenge ship model will be anchored. Hopefully, it will be laid to rest in public view, so everyone can see it in person.

It would be a shame if it ended up in a private collection. I am waiting for a response from the powers-that-be to learn of its and the rest of the pirate collection’s fate.

The QAR is definitely closed. Where, oh where, is Captain Blackbeard’s Flagship? I am waiting to hear about its destination.

I can’t help but feel that this is Bill’s legacy. He passed away on Sept. 16, 2011.

As a side note, Bill built and restored many models from all over the world and in Charleston.

In 1997, he was commissioned to build the five-foot replica model of the “H.L. Hunley Confederate Submarine” at the time of the Hunley Commission’s launch. The model remains in the Charleston Museum permanent collection.

Another three-foot model was presented to Lieutenant Governor and former senator Glenn McConnell in 2000 at the time of the raising of the Hunley.

Before he passed away in 2011, he built a four-foot model for the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Va. To my knowledge, it remains on display in the “Defending the Seas,” exhibit.

If you have any questions, information or input, please contact me at 843-762-6280, 324-0900. I would appreciate hearing from you.

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