Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin #1) - Patrick O'Brian

I´m enjoying this book so far, but the naval vernacular makes this a challenging read.


What / Who is a Master and Commander, a Master, a Bosun? When is a ship a sloop and when is a ship a ship? How many cannons of a certain size fit on a ship of a certain size? Mathematical equations how a sail should be raised. The names of the different sails. And so on and so on.




I googled the term Master and Commander. He´s above the rank of a lieutenant and below the rank of a captain. He is allowed to take command of a small vessel, which is then called a sloop. Not a ship, because it isn´t big enough and it doesn´t qualify for very specific criterias (the six rates). Does a vessel fulfill one of these criterias, then the ship is a ship and the commanding officer becomes a post captain (or at least I think so).


I hope I´m not the only one who is confused by the whole sloop/ship thing. I wish this book would have a glossary or a short explanation of the naval ranking system. Especially for someone like me, who is just as clueless in the matter of the military / navy as this guy is in general:




(I couldn´t resist. I love this movie.)