In the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the Black Pearl was able to easily beat the speed and firepower of the HMS Interceptor, which was the fastest warship in the British Royal Navy fleet and specially designed to crush pirates.

Elizabeth: This is the fastest ship in the Caribbean!
Anamaria: You can tell them that after they've caught us!

What surprised me most: They dared attack a British fort in Port Royal with just one ship, and it looked like it was an ordinary task for them. I mean, seriously? Yes, the crew of Black Pearl couldn't be killed, which could give them the upper hand, but what prevented the fort canons from sinking the ship? Was the Black Pearl also affected by the curse to enjoy immortality?

What was special with Black Pearl?

  • 5
    The Pearl had speed, IIRC. Nothing else really. Port battle explained by surprise attack, later battle against Interceptor by that ship dumping all it's ammo.
    – Radhil
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 13:10
  • 34
    Well, it's pretty sweet. I mean, it's a ship crewed by the damned and captained by a man so evil that Hell itself spat him back out. Also, it has black sails.
    – xDaizu
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 14:55
  • 2
    Actually, in history pirates were often raiding forts. The ships in forts usually were not dangerous because the ships could not maneuver when in ports. The cannons in the fort should be much more dangerous though, especially because their high position would give them longer range.
    – Sulthan
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 7:52
  • @Sulthan I was surprised to see the raid with only ONE ship.
    – user931
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 17:57
  • Because...Jack Sparrow! Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 11:28

2 Answers 2


No, the Black Pearl was not affected by the Aztec curse that turned its crew immortal (with one possible caveat; see the bottom of my answer).

However, the ship has other magical properties. It started its life as the Wicked Wench, captained by Jack Sparrow under the East-India Trading Company. When Sparrow broke with them, the Company branded him a pirate and sunk his ship. Jack sold his soul to Davy Jones of the Flying Dutchman in exchange for getting the Wench back, which he re-christened the Black Pearl.

This is told in abridged version in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and the story is told in full in the prequel novel Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom.

We never learn exactly what the terms of Jack's deal with Jones was, but it is implied that it's the fastest ship there is and that its speed is a magical property:

"I believe that with the wind, the Pearl will be the fastest ship you've ever sailed on. Uncatchable, savvy?"
Jack felt confident that his boast would prove true. So far, Davy Jones had fulfilled his side of the bargain admirably. Jack had been very careful when he'd negotiated, making his terms very precise.

It is even faster than the Flying Dutchman, perhaps because Jack wanted to try to outrun Davy Jones when the time of the reaping of his soul came (the deal gave him 13 years with the Black Pearl first). We also know the ship was resurrected with slightly different physical properties:

Jack sometimes wondered why Davy Jones had felt it necessary to supply Jack's ship, the resurrected and transformed Wicked Wench, with a figurehead. The original Wench didn't have one.

In addition, the resurrected ship was painted black (hence the name) to hide the burn marks it received when it was sunk in a fiery inferno. It also had black sails. When the lights aboard were doused, it was very hard to see the ship in the dark, which gave the crew the element of surprise in sneak attacks like that.

I can't find any explicit references that say the ship was imbued with any special powers beyond its speed, but it's possible it was also strengthened. It was probably not magically impervious to destruction, though, as we see in the movies. Jack also says this in the prequel novel, which implies that no, nothing really prevented the fort cannons from sinking the ship:

Jack rummaged through his sea chest until he pulled out two large rectangles of silk. One was white. He’d need it to be allowed to approach Shipwreck Island for a parlay. Otherwise, the cannons mounted on the cliff walls would make short work of his Pearl—and he couldn’t have that. He’d sacrificed too much for this ship.

So it's at the very least a speedy, stealthy ship with an immortal crew and legendary status that scared potential attackers.

As Hurkyl points out in their answer, a thick fog also seemed to follow the Black Pearl around, making it extra stealthy; however, this feature is not confirmed to be Davy Jones's doing. The article on the PoC wikia actually implies it's due to the Aztec curse, but doesn't back it up with any sources.

  • 14
    Based on what happened in Dead Man's Chest, it sounds more like Sparrow was given the opportunity to captain the Pearl for 13 years. He, of course, spent a decent amount of that time... indisposed.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 23:04
  • @Ellesedil The fact that he got to keep it for 13 years was part of the bargain with Davy Jones from the start, according to Price of Freedom
    – tobiasvl
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 1:45
  • 6
    Right, but he didn't himself keep it that long. His crew mutinied against him and left him on a deserted island. Davy Jones isn't too particular about considering that though, which is what I was referring to.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 1:47
  • 6
    @Ellesedil But he continued to introduce himself as it's captain during that period, I thought that Davy even makes a play on that in the movies.
    – SBoss
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 6:39
  • 2
    @SBoss you right he did. in response to Jack saying he was captain for 2 years Davy Jones says "Then you were a poor captain, but a 'captain' nonetheless! Have you not introduced yourself all these years as 'Captain' Jack Sparrow?"
    – Memor-X
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 22:33

You have to give the crew some credit: they aren't just two bit pirates. Their approach was silent and made under the cover of darkness, and they have the unparalleled ability to... walk into town undetected. While I don't believe it was depicted, surely some of the invaders were tasked with disrupting the defense.

One trait of the Pearl that did aid in the attack is the unnatural fog that follows along with it. The Port's cannoneers were basically firing blind.

  • 5
    The movie portrayal suggested to me something far worse. The cannons has precision more like guided weapons and appeared to disable the fort cannons on the first salvo.
    – Joshua
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 15:18
  • 2
    @joshua which could also be the work though of the experience of the crew with their cannons while the fort crew has no real battle experience
    – Thomas
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 15:41
  • 3
    @Thomas - one of the benefits of immortality is that you get to learn from your mistakes instead of dying for them. The gunners were very experienced, and had likely failed quite a bit (and suffered for it) before the referenced raid.
    – Jeff
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 19:17
  • @jeff that is what I was talking about ;) and I guess the british troopsdidnt face combat too often so were very inexperienced.
    – Thomas
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 19:23

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