In the Age of Fighting Sail, ambitious officers of the navies of many nations sought command of a frigate. Speedy, nimble and soundly armed, frigates often operated independently, unlike the larger ships of the line. Legendary sailors found that commanding such a ship offered numerous opportunities for wealth — in the form of prize money paid out for captured enemy vessels — and, even more importantly, prestige and promotion for captains who prevailed in the numerous single-ship duels that characterized frigate warfare.
Between 1793 and 1814, the British and French frigates fought in more than 100 battles. Of these, no fewer than 32 were pure frigate duels, with a pair of frigates fighting without the interference of another major warship before the battle ended. Attention and romance attached to these clashes, both at the time and right up to the present day. Literary characters such as Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey have perpetuated the legend of these spirited battles on the high seas for successive generations.
Author Mark Lardas describes the intense combats fought by the most romantic warship of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era.
Admission includes access to the museum's exhibits.