During the Golden Age of Piracy, the schooner was used as a general sailing vessel by not only the navies, but civilian operators as well. This lightly armed vessel provided ample speed and could be crewed by as few as five people. Schooners bore two masts, and was capable of fielding up to 8 guns per side over a single deck; on top of this, they were fitted with fire barrels.
When in battle, schooners generally use their speed and fire barrels to outmaneuver and entrap enemies. They avoid extended broadsides and rarely slow to use their cannons, preferring to skim past and fire. They can often be seen accompanying ships of every size as support vessels. Due to these qualities, they were a favourite of many pirates due to their ability to run circles around bigger ships. Notable amongst these was Benjamin Hornigold, who captained a schooner called the Benjamin and used her for many years before she ended up beached on the Santanillas islands.