||J. H. Martin
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Centuries ago, on 17 November of the year 1665, when the English and Dutch were at each other's throats, Samuel Pepys went to bed later than usual. As Clerk of the Acts, he had written a long letter to the Duke of York, the Lord High Admiral, about "the ill condition of the Navy" and its need of money "before it be too late". That need was already a familiar theme in English naval history. Just over 60 years earlier King James I had inherited from Queen Elizabeth a maritime fighting force which was to set the standards relating to the in ship design for more than two centuries, until the introduction of steam. The English believed in the Vound'ship. With its ability to face heavy weather and to carry stores for a long voyage, it had served them well, and under Sir John Hawkins they had learnt to reduce its limitations as a vessel of war. By increasing its length in proportion to its breadth, they made it less 'round' and clumsy. It also looked less top-heavy and was better rinsed, with a larger and more effective sail area... The content of the book is presented in six chapters covering the age of the fighting sail, modern warships, triumph of steam, sailing on the trade winds, voyages of adventure, great liners and cargo and container vessels.