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Making Virtue of Necessity

Let’s face it. When it comes to nautical fiction we are all Anglophiles. The major fictional heroes of the Age of Sail are British. Alexander Kent is probably one of the few authors who have managed to sell books in the United States in which Americans are the enemy.

There are undoubtedly novels out there in which a French naval officer is the hero, but I’ve just not encountered them.

Just because our fiction in Anglophile, it doesn’t mean we should accept the prejudices held by the British Navy as being accurate.

In fiction, two of these prejudices have acquired the level of articles of faith. The first is the supremacy of the weather gage, the second is the superiority of aiming at the hull of the opponent, “‘twixt wind and water,” rather than the rigging.

Let’s look at them.

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