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Ahoy! ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ inspires Arizona man to build pirate ship

(Photo courtesy Casa Grande Dispatch/Melissa St. Aude)

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — An Arizona man has become the neighborhood pirate with his replica of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” Black Pearl.

While Steven Hill’s three-story ship did not escape from Davy Jones’ locker, a giant squid can be seen attacking the ship standing in his backyard, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported.

He and his wife’s love for the Disney franchise inspired him to construct the ship a year ago, Hill said.

Hill’s family has a little bit of history designing projects for Disney.

“My grandfather, Roland E. Hill, designed the Disneyland castle for Walt Disney,” he said. ” He met [Disney] in France during World War I, and they were lifelong friends.

“My father was in the set design business as well; worked for a bunch of different studios — MGM, Warner Brothers, all those good things.”

He used the Ponderosa pines in his backyard to support the ship’s tree house design. Although Hill has never worked on a movie set, he said the ship was not too hard to make.

Hill found that the most difficult part of the project was ensuring safety.

“A tree is a living thing,” he said. “They do move and change. I built the ship so it could rock forward on a hinge off the side of the guest house as the tree grows without tearing the ship apart.”

The hull of the ship is about 80 square feet, and its upper deck is about 300 square feet. He thinks it can support about 20 playing children. Already, some neighbor kids have come to act out their own pirate adventures on the ship.

“My wife and I don’t have any children and I thought, ‘How can I do something that’ll reach out to the community and help other children,’” he said.

Hill added rudders, anchor chains, sails, captain’s quarters with a bed and desk and faux cannons to make his ship as close the Black Pearl as possible. It also has a crow’s nest at the top of the ship where Hill can see Eloy.

“It took a lot of trips to Salvation Army and Goodwill to get the details right,” he said.

The public can take tours of the boat. For information, call 602-317-2566.

KTAR’s Kathy Cline contributed to this report.

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