With the disappearance of sail as a primary, or even usual, means of ship propulsion we’ve lost touch with the importance of position to navies of that era. Modern warships go any direction they wish, any time they wish, as fast as their power plants can take them. Naval combat and strategy today resembles a video game. Tn the Age of Sail strategy and combat more closely resembled Go. With the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, the Royal Navy immediately proceeded to blockade major French naval bases. Brest being one of them. The danger facing the Royal Navy was that winter storms would blow the blockading squadron up the English Channel and result in a significant period of time wherein the French could use the same winds to sortie from Brest. Torbay in southwest England was the Royal Navy’s designated rendezvous in case of severe storms. The blockading squadron could ride out the storm there, refit if necessary, and move to quickly intercept any sortie by the Brest squadron.

1 Comment

Filed under Age of Sail, Geography, Naval Operations

One response to “Torbay

  1. Mike Thompson

    I am looking for facts surrounding the blockade of Brest, with regard to the frequency of visits to Tor Bay by the Royal Navy brecause of adverse weather. How often did the officers/sailors get ashore; were the ships able to inform anyone of their impending visits to Tor Bay? I am researching the growth of Torquay during the period of the blockade. I am honorary vice-president of Torquay Museum Society.

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