The sailing-master was the crew position which was responsible for the navigation and sailing. The sailing-master directed the course of the ships using the various maps and sailing tools available during the respective period of the Golden Age of Piracy. Often this was the most difficult position aboard the ship because maps and charts were often inaccurate or did not exist at all.
Many sailing-masters were pressed into service from merchant ships. One famous sailing-master was Israel Hands who served aboard Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach's flagship the Queen Anne's Revenge.