Cover art for Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series book. Dirty weather in the English Channel aboard the little sloop Ariel. The quarterdeck looks crowded even now; it must have been difficult to find foot room if the guns or the capstan were in use. The guns themselves are compact, however; these 32-pounder carronades recoil on their slides, taking up no more space than seen here.
The white canvas cover beyond the helmsman belongs to the flag locker, which occupies the extreme stern; either side of this is an open port, through which we can see part of the 16-foot cutter slung on davits across the transom.