One of the things that has always intrigued me about the Jacobite history is the lack of any detail about the Navy. It seems as if sailing ships sank out of sight when Queen Elizabeth died yet that is far from the case. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere there were many attempts at establishing colonies in the New World and the Navy played a significant part in supplying Cromwell’s forces but in opposing Jacobite attempts at invasion. In the last throws of Jacobitism, it searched for Bonnie Prince Charlie among Scotland’s Western Isles. In fact, it could be argued that it was the Navy’s intervention that swung the balance against both Pretenders. I did find a book called “The Ships of the ’45” by J. S. Gibson, which made interesting reading but, apart from that the bookshelves are conspicuously empty; surprising for a country that is fascinated by Hornblower and the many other Napoleonic war fictional heroes. I have gone through history looking at possible novel plot lines from the time the Leprechaun ruled Dalriada to Miss Kirkhope in the post WW1 period but may, in the end, settle on a sea adventure in the days of the Stuarts or the Jacobites. I love the sea and Vital Spark came from my love of sailing and involvement in bridge duty at the Royal Cape Yacht Club. I may have mentioned they lost the America Cup. Not the one lost to ‘America’ while Queen Victoria watched but their own club trophy, presented to the winner of a race round a freighter, also called America, that sank in Table Bay. Sometimes the ‘fun’ is in the detail.

1719