Rif Winfield has made a lifetime’s study of the sailing warship. This is the third and, until the present day, the last book published in his excellent series of sequential volumes from Seaforth Publishing (though it was the first of them written). This monumental trilogy, taken as a whole, details every single known British ship in service with the Royal Navy from 1603 to 1817, every vessel built, purchased or taken. As we have said before, nothing quite like this series of volumes has ever been produced.
This one spans the period from 1793 until 1817, from the outbreak of the French Revolutionary War through to the aftermath of the 22-year-long Great French Wars and of the more minor War of 1812 between Britain and the USA, both of which conflicts ended in 1815. The timescale takes us up to the armament re-rating of 1817 in the post-war period (the launch year of the frigate HMS Trincomalee).