Pirate ship for sale! Arrrrrrrrr you kidding?

Sharon Luther of Surf City on Topsail Island has advertised The Raven, this pirate ship, for sale at $35,000.
Sharon Luther of Surf City on Topsail Island has advertised The Raven, this pirate ship, for sale at $35,000.

Any suburbanite chained to a cubicle, anchored to a mortgage and paying off a minivan dreams about chucking it all for a life of a pirate — a fantasy made of danger, rum and parrots.

Last week, Sharon Luther of Topsail Island offered the central tool for that adventure: a 52-foot pirate ship equipped with twin masts, a diesel engine and black powder cannons.

Pirates not included.

And at $35,000, the Facebook post advertising the ship, "The Raven," has circled the globe, gathering more than 15,000 shares and thousands more comments, most of them written in crude buccaneer slang.

"Aarrrr, belay payin' for the scow," wrote a man in San Gabriel, Calif. "Too many doubloons, says I. Boarrrd her by forrrce, scuttle the crew, but save the wenches, and set sail for Hispaniola."

Haggling over prices aside, Luther and her husband, David, have a ship with a genuine history.

In 2007, they brought their 55-foot riverboat replica, the Belle of Topsail, to port in Surf City. For the last decade, they've offered sunset dinner cruises, dolphin searches and a variety of other vacation jaunts.

But in 2010, they added a new attraction: a former Maryland skipjack painted pink and turquoise, which they converted to The Raven with considerable pirate trimmings.

From then on, when tourists rode the Belle, they would spy a mast approaching fast off the horizon, topped with a Jolly Roger.

"We had families with children from New York," Sharon Luther said in an interview, "and when those cannons went off, they literally hit the floor."

Before they could react, The Raven would overtake them and send pirates crawling onto their deck, tying up passengers who would escape certain plank-walking only when David Luther overtook them with a pistol, sending them overboard.

The Raven, a 52-foot skipjack converted to a pirate ship, is for sale for $35,000. Sharon Luther

The Raven also grew popular with proposing grooms, one of whom steered it to his intended's house and presented a ring hidden inside a treasure chest.

But the Luthers are ready to retire. They found some interest for the business and Belle, which needs work, but the Raven must go.

"Forgive me," said Sharon Luther of her beloved marauder. "I may get emotional."

Pirates are not known for being fair-minded business partners, but so far, the Luthers have fended off the more unreasonable offers.

They trust that somewhere, someone with an amble supply of booty is dusting off a cutlass, patching up a tri-cornered hat and preparing to board, eyes gleaming with dreams of treasure.

The Raven has entertained tourists and wedding guests on Topsail Islands since 2010. Sharon Luther and her husband David are selling it for $35,000, creating an Internet craze.
Josh Shaffer: 919-829-4818, @joshshaffer08

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