One of the most important things to a seafarin’ man, besides stayin’ alive, was servin’ aboard a ship captained by a superior officer, think Patrick O’Brien’s Captain Aubrey. Like ye old Master and Commander’s favorite ship, Surprise, built in Le Havre and completed in 1794 (displacement 579 tons, a 126 ft gundeck with 32 32-pounder carronades and two long 6-pounder guns), the most important ship for any captain sailin’ the sea was a frigate.
Frigates were highly prized above other ships, including the behemoth Ship-of-the-Line, because of their agility and speed which enabled them to scout and relay messages to the fleet. A tactical genius, Admiral Nelson sent the Admiralty regular dispatches requesting more frigates for his fleet. According to his calculations, four-six were needed, especially when the one-two frigates normally at his disposal were often deployed as couriers, leaving his fleet blind. Nelson’s requests, however, were downplayed by the Admiralty. What would a few more frigates mean to the Vice Admiral of the White?
Read more at: Embracing Romance