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Thread: 2015 Solo Mission - Our Ships were British Oak by Dobbs

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    Default 2015 Solo Mission - Our Ships were British Oak by Dobbs

    ‘Our Ships were British Oak, and hearts of oak our men.’

    This is my interpretation of the adventure. I changed the original slightly to continue following the adventures of Captain Winthrop Doylee and his brig Lacey Anne. The British ships were reduced to something that wouldn’t wipe a brig off the sea with a backhand and the battery was reduced to a Burden of 3 and a firepower of 3 to the east and 2 to the west. I also allowed that if it was water, you could sail there, since the British were going to have a tough time beating to weather.

    Captain Winthrop Doylee stood by the taffrail peering into the darkness. It was not his plan, but it was a good plan. First Mate, now wishing to be known as First Lieutenant, Tobias Henry had suggested it, and now he was in charge of making it work.

    Looking back on the last week it was all such a blur; the struggle to keep the captured brig Spitfire afloat and get her safely back to port. The discovery of the documents in the captain’s cabin, General Washington’s enthusiasm and encouragement to get Lacey Anne ready for action again. There hadn’t been any problem filling the empty crew positions, for the time being, the dread privateer, Captain Wintrop Doylee was a local hero.

    Now, in the darkness of the middle watch off of Narragansett Bay, Lacey Anne lay at anchor while her first lieutenant led a party of volunteers in small boats to storm the battery guarding the entrance channels. If they were successful, according to the captured papers, at dawn they would have a chance to thwart a series of coastal raids planned by the British.

    The darkness and the silence were impenetrable, but the compass in the binnacle unerringly let Doylee know where the battery lay. The tension was thick and time moved slowly. Two bells into the morning watch, a small blue rocket leapt skyward on fort’s bearing, signaling a successful capture of the battery. Surprisingly, the rocket’s brief appearance did nothing to release the stress. Instead, the impending decisions that tomorrow would bring weighed heavier.

    The sun climbed above the horizon and revealed a small brig anchored to windward of Narragansett battery. She was flying no flag and few hands could be seen moving about her deck. The sea breeze had refused to release its grasp and the wind continued to blow directly into the mouth of the Providence River. From his quarterdeck on the brig, Captain Doylee discreetly watched the river mouth. In spite of the unfavorable wind, a sail could be seen working to weather on a port tack. As the ship cleared the headland, the lines of the 28 gun post ship HMS Cerebus were unmistakable. She had been a thorn in the side of the New England community since the start of hostilities. In her wake followed a Swan class sloop. This was something more than expected. Doylee lowered his glass and tried not to show too much tension as he gripped the taffrail. If success was to be found here, it was going to rely on a heavy dose of bluffing and patience. It was too late to run.

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    Cerebus held her port tack as she closed on the western shore, and just before she must certainly touch bottom, she came up into the wind and tacked smartly across. She broke out a flurry of flags which almost certainly were directed at the battery, asking about the anchored brig.

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    Cerebus got her way back on on a starboard tack as the Swan followed her tack.

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    As Cerebus drew abeam of the fort, she fired a signal gun, seeking a reply to her inquiry about the brig.

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    Aboard Lacey Anne, tension was reaching a new high. It was time to slip the anchor. Doylee cast a quick eye to make sure it was buoyed. If he didn’t have to buy a new one, he would be happier. The ship’s boy, err, midshipman, was standing by with a flag hoist. Doylee nodded to the bosun. The bosun started to yell and things began to happen quickly. As the anchor let go, the buoy swept past the cathead. Lacey Anne began to make way astern. The topmen let the fore and main topsails fall, to be quickly sheeted home. The big gaff spanker creaked up the main course mast, while at the other end of the boat, her backwinded jibs raced up their stays. Slowly, Lacey Anne began to pay off on a port tack.

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    In apparent response to Lacey Anne getting underway, Cerebus luffed up and tacked.
    Following suit, the Swan tacked as well. Aboard Lacey Anne, Doylee couldn’t believe that the plan was working this well. “If only Lieutenant Henry can keep his men in check only a little longer…”

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    Last edited by Dobbs; 08-07-2022 at 11:18.

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