Still serving aboard the HMS Indefatigable, Horatio Hornblower has been promoted to acting Lieutenant. Neutral Spain has concluded a peace treaty with France and the British now have another enemy to face. They soon come across a sunken British supply ship and rescue its Captain, 'Dreadnought' Foster, a man with a reputation for bravery that some consider borders on foolishness. Hornblower is also pleased to learn that Captain Pellew has scheduled him for the next round of Lieutenants exams. Tempers are short with the crew after they are put on half rations due to the lack of supplies. After acquiring more supplies, Hornblower finds himself in charge of a supply ship when it is feared that plague may also be aboard. He soon makes it to Gibraltar, but when the enemy send a fire ship into the harbor, he must act quickly to avert disaster.
11 April 1999 (USA)
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Also Known As:
Horatio Hornblower: The Fire Ship
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Did You Know?
The question given at Hornblower's Lieutenant examination, that of what to do in response to a "full a-back", relates to the sails of a ship suddenly flattening against the mast due to a change in wind. The correct answer (which Hornblower clearly does not know) is to put the helm over, haul up the mainstay and spanker sails, and then shift the helm in the opposite direction in order to fill the after-sails with wind in order to regain headway. Once the wind has been recovered, the ship should then brace up the sails and bring the ship's course directly in front of the wind. The maneuver to regain wind after a fall a-back is known as "chapelling", or "Chapel Ship", and would have been something which Hornblower absolutely should have known. See more
During the examination, Captain Foster describes a situation "with Dover bearing north two miles" and a "nor'easterly wind" that "veers four points". That would put the wind at east, but Hornblower is told that he would have Dover under his lee, whereas he would, at worst, have Folkestone under his lee and that eight miles off. Unless the wind were to veer a further twelve points at gale force, the tide would never put a dismasted vessel anywhere near Dover. See more
Capt. Sir Edward Pellew
Look, you have nothing to reproach yourself with. One man has died. Others may live, thanks to you.
Followed by Hornblower: Duty
The British Man-of-War
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