Blue At The Mizzen

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HMS Surprise off Cap Pilar. Cover art for Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series book. Surprise has rounded Cape Horn into the Pacific and is off Cap Pilar, some three hundred miles to the north-west of the Horn. Still beating against the wind her sails are reefed and topgallant masts sent down; the crew are on deck preparing to tack ship. Blue at the Mizzen, the title of Patrick O’Brian’s novel, is a reference to the promotion to Admiral’s rank which Captain Aubrey is hoping for – he would be entitled, as the most junior flag officer, to hoist a blue ensign at the mizzen masthead.

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