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Additional info for A Sea of Words, Third Edition: A Lexicon and Companion to the Complete Seafaring Tales of Patrick O'Brian
At the first sign the enemy fleet gave of moving out of port, a fast ship was sent to bring up the blockader’s battle fleet to engage them. A close blockade with ships of the line, such as the one Nelson conducted off Cadiz in July 1797, was difficult, dangerous, and tedious work for the blockaders. Such a blockade was meant to keep an enemy fleet at anchor in port. Jack Aubrey was typical of many officers who expressed their displeasure in such work. Not only did it lack the élan of battle, but it was difficult to control a large line of battle in shallow and confined waters close to shore.
The Ordnance Board worked closely with the Admiralty, its principal channel of communication on sea affairs, in determining with the Navy Board and its subsidiaries the specifications of armaments for naval vessels and in coordinating the timely delivery and convoy of supplies as well as the construction and victualing of Ordnance vessels. The Size of the Navy Together, these offices and boards managed the support and direction of a large number of officers, seamen, and ships. Today, as then, it is difficult to ascertain exactly how many men were in the Navy.
After the last of the hammocks were stowed, the Captain came on deck and eight bells were struck for eight o’clock. With his approval, the Boatswain piped breakfast for the crew. After half an hour, they returned to their duty, and the new watch came on deck, bringing with them bags and chests from the lower deck to allow cleaning there. M. and noon, many of the crew worked in “messes,” groupings based on their mess tables, preparing the main meal of the day, to be served at noon. Others might have helped the Master and the Captain of the Hold restow the provisions in the warship’s small hold, below the orlop deck, to make the ship sail more efficiently.