8th May, 6pm (3 hours to dusk) - The French
The French Admiral L'Hospitalier Villemadran (Andrew F) is in command of the French Caribbean fleet. He has has been raiding British possessions and is now preparing to join with the Spanish for an invasion of British-held Jamaica. In Fort Royal, Martinique, he has 1x 120 gun, 2x 110 gun and 26x 74/80 gun ships-of-the-line plus 5 frigates.
On May 8, he departed from Martinique with his entire fleet and headed south for a rendezvous at a minor anchorage with 10 Spanish ships-of-line commanded by Admiral Don Louis de Flores and 15,000 troops for the invasion. His priority is the Spanish fleet which, should it be captured by the British, would defeat the invasion.
Nearing the rendezvous, late in the afternoon at 8 knots, his frigates spotted a large fleet. Thinking it to be the Spanish, he approached, only to discover it is the British fleet of about 30 sail, about 15 miles distant to the south west. The wind is brisk, from the north, variable.
Villemadran decided to turn the fleet by Squadrons to the WNW, hoping to draw the British away from the Spaniards.
8th May, 6pm - The British
Admiral James Hargood (Kevin P) is in command of the British Caribbean fleet. The French have been raiding British possessions so his spies and frigates have kept watch on the French fleet. Learning of its departure from Martinique on May 8, he set off in pursuit with 4x 100 gun and 25x 74 gun ships-of-line plus 5 frigates to destroy the French fleet.
Late in the afternoon, his frigates discovered the French fleet about 15 miles distant to the north east. He decided to continue on his current course but slowing to 4 knots.
8th May, 7.30pm
Villemadran now presumed that the British were aware of the Spaniards, so he turned the squadrons to the SSW and increased speed to 8 knots.
9th May, 6am
9th May, 7.30am
The lead squadrons are mauling each other off top left. The centre French squadron has turned round the starboard side of the British centre, meanwhile the rear French squadron (Chris R) engages its port side. The Spanish squadron (Jim C) is about to engage the rear British squadron (Colin B).