Naval Tactic: Cutting Out

   Cutting Out is an a naval tactic from the Age of Sail. It also was one of the most daring. Cutting Out involves removing a ship from anchor, and sailing away with it! This was a very daring naval tactic, as it involved either sailing into an enemy port, sending small boats in or landing troops. In Patrick O'Brian's Master & Commander HM Sloop Sophie, cuts out several merchantmen from Almoraira, while landing men under Captain Jack Aubrey to destroy a shore battery. This demonstrates a daring and tenacity that many had (and still have) in the Royal Navy (particularly the Mediterranean Fleet).

I know its the Battle of Navarino..I needed a picture

   Cutting out almost guaranteed a prize if executed successfully. This would have been very important to Captain's (I point at YOU Jack Aubrey). This made cutting out a very popular naval tactic...not always done successfully. It was often done at night; and you combine an inept Captain, small boats and a dark night and you have a very large pile of English bodies. Cutting Out was not for the faint hearted, as a failure may result in loss of life or even worse: command. 

   To Cut Out a vessel, you first need a clear target. You'll want to chose something with under 20 guns, anything bigger is going to have to many mooring cables to be easily Cut Out. Then you need to get in the harbour. I recommend that you anchor your ship just out of cannon keep them busy. Then send your biggest and strongest men in on small boats (you may land if you wish to neutralise the port, for those over achievers). These men on the boats can jump on your targets, massacre their port crews, and cut the mooring cables. Then sail your targets out to sea and return them to a friendly port as a prize, giving your Captain a nice big smile.