Captain Jethro Cockerill ""Cocky"" Penhaligan, former nuzzler of Lady Emma Hamilton (her virtue has been breezily maligned in recent sea literature) and casual plougher of the Duchess of Potenza, arrives in Minorca with his betrothed, the well-buzzoomed Clarissa, daughter of hell-tongued Rear Admiral Sir Hubert Campden, Flag Officer Commanding Minorca. Nay! cries the Admiral, no marriage! Instead Penhaligan is instantly assigned to set sail and lure huge French ships of the line from their ports and skin them. But first Cocky is arrested by the King of Naples who is still smarting from the Britisher's killing of the Duke of Potenza in a fair duel. His escape is aided by the lecherous Duchess and, with a mere 20 minutes to spare between escape and capture, he ploughs her rapidimento in a lemon orchard, jumps into a dinghy, and is quickly aboard his ship Avenger (Cocky quite aptly commands a frigate). He soon outguns and captures two frog ships, then a third. Clarissa, meanwhile, thinks she's deserted, angrily breaks off their engagement and takes up with a captured French officer. After bringing home many French merchantmen for prize money (he and his crew get a cut of whatever is captured), he at last draws out the monster Hercule and the Loire, and a battle royal fills the air with grapeshot. Minimal sex, maximum boom-boom.