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I publish them regularly on topics based around my enduring love for all matters maritime. I keep them short and light, so they should be no longer to read than the time it takes to drink a coffee. If you want to receive them, please subscribe below

The Galleys' Last Hurrah - The Battle of Lepanto

In the 16th century the Ottoman Empire was on the march. Having established rule over almost all of North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey and modern-day Iraq, they had set their sight on expansion into Europe. Greece, the Balkans and much of Southern Ukraine was conquered, and by 1529 the armies of Suleiman the Magnificent had reached Vienna. Their siege was eventually lifted, but the threat remained. Europe was composed of a mass of small, competing states, divided by religion, language and bitter rivalries. Many wondered how a fragmented continent would be able to resist the unified might of such an empire. In the decades following their rebuff in Austria, the Ottomans looked to the sea, a

Naval Surgeons

Age of sail ships were utterly reliant on the health and strength of their crews. Before the introduction of steam winches in the 19th century, the only source of power available to them were the muscles of the sailors. Some of the forces involved were enormous. Anchors, cannons and upper masts could weigh many tons. The topsail of a large frigate had an area of over three thousand square feet. Hauling it against the pressure of the wind required the combined strength of almost everyone on board. Devices such as blocks helped to spread the load, while capstans permitted several hundred men to apply their combined weight to a single rope, but ultimately it needed the crew to be up to the task

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