By Katherine Hamilton | firstname.lastname@example.org
A 40-foot pirate ship set sail through the cobblestone streets of St. Augustine, headed by no other than a man who goes by Captain Tiny.
Adrian St. Cyr, or “Captain Tiny,” moved all around the state of Florida before landing in the historic downtown with his pirate role-playing business. He now lives in Ocean Grove and tows his business with a 1984 Winnebago motor home which has been all restored to look like a ship.
“When these things are together, they are 75-feet long. She’ll do 65 miles per hour,” St. Cyr said. “I call this the fastest frigate in the new world.”
Officially known as Imagineering Unlimited, his business offers an immersive experience into the world of pirates and sailors. The ship is fully stocked with canons, skeletons and even a brig to store disloyal pirates.
“I build interactive exhibitory and lay situations for children, and I specialize in the years three through 11,” St. Cyr said. “But the ship has its own personality, and we do all kinds of parties for children and for adults—for fundraising—we go to hospitals.”
He said people are always surprised and pleased when they see a giant ship in the middle of his front yard.
“The biggest delight comes from the kids,” St. Cyr said. “They are by far the most enthralled.”
He was first inspired to start his business when a senior center asked him to build a float for their parade. While they were tossing ideas back and forth, he sketched a pirate ship. When he sent his plan around, everyone liked the pirate ship best.
With a budget of $500 and an old trailer as his only means of creating a ship, he agreed to help them. But he had one condition—that their float win first prize.
“They were kind of taken aback by that, but they agreed to it,” St. Cyr said.
So, in his front yard with the help of a neighborhood kid he called Captain Logan, they built a smaller version of the Avenger, about 20-feet long.
After working so hard, they ended up winning first place and a prize of $500 for the pirate ship float.
“So I gave the people back their money, and they gave me the ship, and I gave the ship to the children’s museum in Boca Raton to put outside for the kid to play on,” he said.
St. Cyr also built his own trimaran boat, sailed around the Pacific, and lived in Hawaii for 20 years. His eyes crinkled in the sun and he laughed as he said his favorite pirate is Johnny Depp.
“I fell in love with pirates—lots of stories,” he said. “We played pirate off and on just for fun on my ship and had a bunch of adventures.”
Out of the thousands of children who have come aboard the Avenger, St. Cyr remembered one little girl in particular.
Five or 10 minutes into a festival he was working, a mother of one of the children playing ran up to him “crying big crocodile tears.” He asked her what was wrong, and she replied by telling him that her 6-year-old daughter was up by the wheel of the boat.
Confused, he told the woman it was normal for children to play on his ship. The mother responded by telling him that this was one of the rare times she had ever heard her little girl speak.
Looking up he heard the little girl yelling, “Belay that! Put that man in irons! Bread and water for that one! Fifty lashes for that one!”
“She got her pirate gig on,” he said, laughing. “That’s when I realized not only how cool it was, but how important it was for some people.”
As for how he got the name “Captain Tiny,” he said that a little girl gave it to him once, and he never looked back.
“It doesn’t strike fear in anyone’s mind,” he said, “but the kids like it.”