[[caption-width-right:300:[[http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2005/10/battle-trafalgar/worrall-text "England expects that every man will do his duty!"]]]]

->''Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men,\\
We always are ready; steady, boys, steady!\\
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again!''
-->-- '''David Garrick''', "Heart of Oak"

A setting and an era, which has become a genre almost unto itself.

In the age of sail, life onboard tall ships was hellish to the extreme, by modern standards. Voyages could last up to several years, sanitation was almost nonexistent, the food consisted of weevil-infested, rock-hard dried bread and salt pork, scurvy and other diseases ran rampant, discipline was harsh (ATasteOfTheLash was a common punishment for even minor infractions), and death almost certain.

The men who [[HadToBeSharp survived these times were tough as nails.]]

Expect stories set in this world to be filled with hard, uncompromising men who are covered in grime, with awful teeth, wooden legs, and stringy dirty hair. [[TheDrunkenSailor They will be drunk much of the time]], usually off rum or grog (rum cut with water and lime juice).[[note]]Unless they're officers in a nation's navy, then they will be drunk on port or brandy.[[/note]] They may TalkLikeAPirate, and are quite likely to actually be {{pirates}} or, if not, fight them.

Despite spending most of their life on the high seas, [[SuperDrowningSkills only a few sailors from this age could swim]]. Few captains cared to teach swimming to their men[[note]]though for the sake of cleanliness, impromptu shark-proof pools were occasionally rigged from a sail suspended in the water[[/note]], and the vast majority of sailors expected a quick death if falling into the sea--swimming would only serve to draw out their inevitable death if no help was forthcoming, as it often wasn't. [[note]]What captain would halt a thousand-man ship-of-the-line-of-battle (something almost impossible to do quickly anyway) to rescue a single enlisted man who'd fallen overboard? Much less in the heat of battle?[[/note]] The chronicles of 16th century sea-life describe swimming and free-diving as valued skills [[DancingBear because they were so rare]]--something true even in the heyday of this trope in the early nineteenth century. The state of swimming skills remained woeful at least partly because it was believed that teaching one's (largely press-ganged or shanghaied, and much-brutalised) ratings to swim would only encourage them to literally jump ship and desert when close to shore.

This trope generally involves a UsedFuture sort of vision of the age of sail, with dirt, grime, barnacles, scurvy, [[ATasteOfTheLash floggings]], and other unpleasant aspects of the real time period not glossed over. If a ship or its crew are suspiciously well-scrubbed and well-fed, it's not this trope. But tales of action and adventure abound, with {{swashbuckler}}s, {{pirate}}s, heroes and villains and damsels in distress all around.

Chronologically, this setting ranges from the beginning of the Age of Exploration in the mid 15th century to the replacement of wood and sail by iron and steam in the mid 19th century. The lion's share of works in the genre, though, are about either
UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfPiracy (c. 1680-1720) or the French Revolutionary and [[UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars Napoleonic Wars]] (1793-1815). See UsefulNotes/HistoryOfNavalWarfare for more information.

Not to be confused with the Creator/AvalonHill BoardGame of the same name, which is [[OlderThanTheyThink where we got the trope name]], or with SchizoTech settings where wood ships coexist with PoweredArmor, or with ''ComicBook/IronMan''. The phrase shows up at least as far back as the [[http://books.google.com/books?id=8FACAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA14&dq=wooden+ships+and+iron+men late 19th century]], making it OlderThanRadio.

!!Stories that exemplify this trope:


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Franchise/OnePiece'' has this as its main setting. Though it ''appears'' to take place sometime around the 17th century It's somewhat warped by the surprisingly modern fashion choices and SchizoTech everywhere.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/ElCazador''
* ''ComicBook/{{Marvel 1602}}'' is set in an early part of this period. IronMan himself features.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' fanfic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6245901/1/Three_Years_At_Sea Three Years at Sea]] is basically this [[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: [[Recycled In Space on a Fire Nation ship! ]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''Disney/TreasurePlanet'' is this period [[RecycledInSpace IN SPAAAAACE!!]]
* The opening to Disney's ''Disney/{{Pocahontas}}'' features a wooden sailing ship weathering a bad storm at sea.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' (at least as far as visual aesthetics)
* ''Film/HMSDefiant'' (movie, 1962)
* TheMutiny on HMS ''Bounty'' has inspired at least four film versions:
** The best known are probably both ''Film/MutinyOnTheBounty'' from 1935 and 1962, the first one with Creator/CharlesLaughton as Bligh and Creator/ClarkGable as Fletcher Christian, and the second with Trevor Howard as Bligh and Creator/MarlonBrando as Christian.
** See also the more historically accurate 1984 version, ''Film/TheBounty'', with Creator/AnthonyHopkins as Bligh and Creator/MelGibson as Christian.
* [[OutOfGenreExperience Briefly used]], {{Discussed}}, and ultimately verbally {{deconstructed}} in ''Film/StarTrekGenerations'', when the crew are on the wooden ship version of ''Enterprise'', on the holodeck. (The scene, of course, is a tribute to how [[SpaceIsAnOcean the franchise owes this genre big-time]].)
-->'''Picard''': Just imagine what it was like. No engines, no computers. Just the wind and the sea and the stars to guide you.
-->'''Riker''': [[DeconstructedTrope Bad food, brutal discipline...]] ''[[TheCasanova no women.]]''
* The classic 1956 version of ''Film/MobyDick'' with Gregory Peck as Ahab.
* ''Film/CarryOnJack'' was a parody of the genre.
* ''Film/MasterAndCommander'' is a good example of the more realistic portrayals of the era.
* Creator/ErrolFlynn's swashbuckling {{pirate}} films, ''Film/CaptainBlood'' and ''Film/TheSeaHawk'' (which has [[AdaptationDisplacement absolutely nothing to do with]] [[Literature/TheSeaHawk the book]]).
* A movie adaptation ''Film/HoratioHornblower'' (1951). Starring Gregory Peck in his prime in role of Captain Hornblower. Virginia Mayo played Lady Barbara Wellesley.
* ''Film/KonTiki'' offers a rare 20th century example, as Thor Heyerdahl and his cure sail a goddamn raft 4000 miles across the open ocean from Peru to Polynesia.
* ''Film/CloudAtlas'': Autua happens to be one hell of a sailor, and apparently so are the rest of the crew of the ship.

* The American TallTale of A. B. Stormalong, as laid out in ''Literature/TallTaleAmerica'', took place in this time period. However, like all the great American tall tales, his heart broke when the big battleships set out to sea, [[TheMagicGoesAway iron ships crewed by wooden men.]]

* The literary genre of the Sea Novel was established by Creator/JamesFenimoreCooper starting with ''The Pilot'' (1824) and ''The Red Rover'' (1828), which are both set in the 18th century. Before becoming a writer Cooper had served in the merchant marine and the United States Navy, and his books not only inspired many young readers to go to sea, but also writers like Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad.
* ''Literature/BloodyJack'' by L. A. Meyer.
* ''Literature/ElConquistador'' by Creator/FedericoAndahazi, depicts an Aztec BoldExplorer named Quetza sailing East to discover the legendary origins of his people. He first encounters Europe, though.
* ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' by C.S. Forester might be the TropeCodifier in literature, inspiring a whole raft of [[FountainOfExpies imitators]] and [[SpiritualSuccessor spiritual successors]], including:
** The ''Literature/AubreyMaturin'' stories by Patrick O'Brien.
** The Alexander Kent ''Richard Bolitho'' series.
** The ''Nathaniel Drinkwater'' series by Richard Woodman.
** The ''Lord Ramage'' novels of Dudley Pope. Pope was a friend of Forester's, and Ramage is unique in this list as he is [[SharedUniverse explicitly described as a former shipmate of Hornblower]].
** Dewey Lambdin's ''Alan Lewrie'' series, which even features a LawyerFriendlyCameo from Hornblower.
** The Literature/{{Kydd}} series by [[http://julianstockwin.com Julian Stockwin]].
** And of course its many parodies, including Harry Harrison's "Captain Honario Harpplayer, R.N." (first published in March 1963 in ''The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction'').
* Herman Melville's works, especially ''White-Jacket'' (based on his personal experiences on the ''U.S.S. United States'') and ''Literature/MobyDick''.
* ''Literature/TreasureIsland'' in most of its incarnations.
* The ''Literature/{{Sharpe}}'' series by Bernard Cornwell (originally conceived as "like Hornblower, but on land!") features this whenever Sharpe has to get somewhere by sea, as in ''Sharpe's Trafalgar'' and ''Sharpe's Devil''.
* There is a bit of this genre in the Sailing aspect of ''Literature/TheFort'', however the book is more focused on troops on the land.
* ''Literature/RobinsonCrusoe'', which spawned a genre of its own.
* Not a fighting ship, but still pretty much the same presentation of the sailors: Rudyard Kipling's ''Literature/CaptainsCourageous''.
* Used in ''Literature/GentlemanBastard'' book ''Red Seas under Red Skies''.
* ''Literature/BillyBudd''
* The ''Literature/{{Temeraire}}'' series is basically this, except the ships are [[DragonRider talking dragons.]] There are plenty of the standard type as well. They frequently [[InterserviceRivalry do not get along well]] with the airborne versions, and one of the leads is a navy man adjusting to dragonback service.
* While David Eddings' ''Literature/{{Belgariad}}'' depicts life at sea rather romantically, its sequel, ''The Malloreon'', paints a considerably more grim picture of the conditions driving a sailor to desert his captain. It still involves a lot of "[[TalkLikeAPirate mateys]]", though.
* Much of Creator/NealStephenson's ''Literature/TheBaroqueCycle'' takes place on ships in, well, the Baroque, both European and Middle Eastern. He doesn't gloss over the conditions.,l
* James Clavell's ''Literature/{{Shogun}}'' opens up in this setting. By the timeframe of ''Literature/TaiPan'' and ''Literature/GaiJin'' (early Steam Age) things had improved only a little.
* Creator/RafaelSabatini's swashbuckling {{pirate}} books, ''Literature/CaptainBloodHisOdyssey'' and ''Literature/TheSeaHawk''.
* Quite a lot of Creator/JohnRingo's ''Emerald Sea'' and ''Against the Tide'', in the ''Literature/CouncilWars'' series, are 41st century recreations of this era, due to the Fall and restrictions imposed by the world-controling AI "Mother" that make combustion-based engines beyond a certain low power output steam engines unavailable.
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr_Midshipman_Easy Mr. Midshipman Easy]]'' by Frederick Marryat is a near-contemporary example, and probably set the tone for most of the later works in this vein.
* The sections concerning the people of the Iron Islands in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', especially those that take place on boats, come across like this. Bonus points for them being called the Iron Born.
* Rosemary and Stephen Vincent Benet's poem "[[http://www.constitutional.net/099.html Clipper Ships and Captains]]" is an ode to this period, even going so far as to include the lines:
-->When the best ships still were wooden ships\\
But the men were iron men.
* The Empire of New Britain and the Holy Dominion in the ''Literature/{{Destroyermen}}'' series arrived on the [[AlternateHistory alternate Earth]] in this genre. Currently they're on their way out of it technologically: their ships are powered by a combination of sail and coal-fired paddlewheels, although the Dominion still uses massive "liners" (short for "ship-of-the-line") as their slow heavy-hitters, which are exclusively sail-powered.
* ''Mutiny On The Elsinore'' by Creator/JackLondon is set in TheEdwardianEra and still features the miserable conditions of the long-range clipper ships, slightly improved by reduced crews and better supplies. Subversion in the fact Captain West and his two officers [[SelfDemonstratingArticle fit the heroic image of the Age of Sail mariners]], while the mutinous crew is scrounged from the worst of the worst, thieves, bandits and criminals, barely healthy enough to stand. The trope is [[InvokedTrope invoked]] in-universe by one of the officers, who decried the loss of healthy, trained enlisted sailors of the decades past, who knew "how to drive a ship".
** This is TruthInTelevision for the time: The good sailors could get the comparatively cushy jobs on steamships, whereas the clippers were left with the dregs. Conversely, the officers were often young and ambitious, since you had to have sailing-ship experience to get a captain's license and possibly a ship to command.
* Another Creator/JackLondon novel, ''Literature/TheSeaWolf'' definitely invokes the harsh conditions of sailing vessels, as told through the point of view of a gentleman, rescued from sea and force to work upon the ship.
** Creator/RichardBrautigan's "Contemporary Life in California" has a great summary of ''The Sea Wolf''.
* Two Creator/JaneAusten's brothers were naval officers and she was thus well acquainted with the knowledge of life in the Navy. Two of her books contain elements of Wooden Ships and Iron Men.
** ''Literature/MansfieldPark'': Fanny Price's father is an off-duty [[TheDrunkenSailor drunken sailor]] of a Lieutenant. His family is rather poor and lives in Portsmouth. Fanny's eldest beloved brother William starts his career as a midshipman at the beginning of the novel and his career is mentioned throughout, and later his promotion to the rank of Lieutenant is an important plot point. Mary Crawford, an admiral's niece, at one point says she doesn't want to talk about the Navy because "[[GettingCrapPastTheRadar of rears and vices I saw enough]]."
** In ''Literature/{{Persuasion}}'', there are lots of naval officers who return to the country from Napoleonic Wars, and their life at sea is discussed at large. Admiral and Mrs Croft rent Kellynch Hall, which is a family mansion of Anne Elliot's (the novel's protagonist), and there are three other [[TheCaptain captains]]: Captain Wentworth, Captain Harville, and Captain Benwick. Sophia Croft, Captain Wentworth's sister and Admiral Croft's wife, is a badass of a lady as she spent most of her married life sailing with her husband and slaps down her brother when he starts saying that women are too delicate for seagoing life. The social changes associated with the Navy are also much discussed. Most officers were second sons of respectable families, but it was also possible for middle-class boys to be sponsored as midshipmen, and while nepotism was well in force (as noted in ''Mansfield Park'') men could also rise through merit, become wealthy, and join the upper classes--something which the old titled families did not always like.
* ''Literature/TheTerror'' by Creator/DanSimmons.
* In David Weber's ''Literature/{{Safehold}}'' series, the Kingdom, later Empire, of Charis has to rely on its navy to fight off the mainland powers. Thanks to the TechnologyUplift provided by Merlin Athrawes' knowledge and [[OneManIndustrialRevolution Baron Seamount's inventiveness]], they go from Lepanto style galleys to ships with designs straight from the Age of Sail. As of the sixth book, ''Midst Toil and Tribulation,'' it drops off a bit. Much of the action switches to land based combat in the Republic of Siddamark and the climax of that book features the introduction of the Safehold's first steam-powered, ironclad river with larger, more heavily armed and armoured versions stated being built for use in the open sea.
* The ''George Abercrombie Fox'' series of novels by Adam Hardy.
* David Drake's ''Literature/{{RCN}}'' series is this trope RecycledInSpace -- ships in FTL are driven by sails that, because of the inability to use electrically-powered motors, are set and reefed by sailors in the rigging.
* The Bronte siblings devoted some of their childhood writings and plays to this genre, as their wooden soldiers became fearless explorers on a journey to Africa.
* ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfTomRynosseros'' although the ships in question are wind-powered ''sand'' ships.
* ''Literature/ThePyrates'' parodies the glorification of the era by taking all its components UpToEleven.
* ''Literature/AlexisCarew'': Well, Thermoplastic and {{Unobtainium}} Ships, but the rest checks out: everything about the workings of space travel is based heavily on the Age of Sail, from the brutal discipline and sexism and classism down to the tiniest terminology of mast and sail sections. The terminology part gets a lampshade when Alexis wonders aloud if "tradition" is some synonym for insanity.
* Literature/TheBountyTrilogy, a series of three novels about TheMutiny aboard HMS ''Bounty''. The first one, ''Mutiny on the Bounty'', was adapted into an Oscar-winning 1935 film.
* The navy and the sailors of ''Literature/TheWitchlands'' are very evocative of this era, with the added bonus of magic powers.
* ''Literature/TheTrueConfessionsOfCharlotteDoyle'' is about a ProperLady who boards a sailing vessel to return from England to America and learns that life at sea is extremely difficult. Has a similar premise to ''Literature/CaptainsCourageous'', except with more mystery and less crew cohesion.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': The Ironborn

[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* ''Series/TheOnedinLine''.
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': A MiniSeries of eight MadeForTV movies from 1999 to 2003 by [=A&E=]. Starting with the award-winning ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0129686/ Hornblower: The Even Chance]]''. High production values and extraordinary quality. There were some notable changes from the original book. Hornblower's solitary hero and man alone got a pal Archie Kennedy and was close to a fatherly Captain Pellew, as introspection and inner dialogue are hard (and potentially uninteresting) to translate into visual media. It has all elements required, and you will think pirates are lame after watching the Navy guys in action in this series.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': the Ironborn.

* Juha Vainio song "Laivat puuta, miehet rautaa" is the trope name in Finnish.
* Parodied mercilessly in Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's operetta ''Theatre/HMSPinafore''.
* The song ''Thirty-Two Down On The ''Robert Mackenzie may be trying to point out that even in the modern era, service aboard ship isn't easy. It's about a modern freighter, the ''Robert Mackenzie'', that runs into a storm, and, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin well...]]
-->''Steel boats, iron men\\
Thirty-two down on the ''Robert Mackenzie

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The TropeNamer ''Wooden Ships and Iron Men''.
* ''TabletopGame/Space1889'' Martian ships and the general canal Martian tech level.
* ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' is this trope RecycledInSpace as far as life on board Imperial Fleet ships goes.
** ''TabletopGame/RogueTrader'', being about people who go to amazing places, meet interesting people, and fleece them for all they're worth, has this in bucketloads. It's not just life on board, either -- spaceship combat is very much inspired by Age of Sail strategies.
** Tactics in ''TabletopGame/BattlefleetGothic'', to some degree, [[SpaceIsAnOcean are those of the Age of Sail]]. The major differences for the Imperial Navy and Chaos are the presence of effective prow-mounted weapons and the independence of the ships on variable winds.
** In one of the ''Literature/SpaceWolf'' novels Ragnar is dismayed to see that most of the crew of an Inquisition ship are criminals chained to their workstations, in the next book he's glad to see that his chapter's own battle barges are manned by much more enthusiastic Fenrisian serfs, essentially Vikings in space.
* ''TabletopGame/SeventhSea'' draws heavily upon this setting for any of its nautical adventures, especially anything involving the Pirate Nations.
%%* ''TabletopGame/FurryPirates''
* When ''TabletopGame/IronKingdoms'' isn't being World War 1-inspired, a High Fantasy setting or Urban Steampunk-y, it is this. Most nations command a fleet, most notably the small kingdom of Ord who maintains such a huge, traditional fleet, and Cryx and the surrounding islands which are filled to the brim with pirates and privateers. Uniquely for these groups, they have several "Shipcasters", a variation of the powerful battlemage/military officer found in the Iron Kingdoms specialized in ship-to-ship combat and maybe even able to mentally control a ship.
* ''Privateers and Gentlemen'', a role playing/miniatures game set during the Napoleonic Wars.

* ''Theatre/HMSPinafore'' mocks the trope mercilessly. The parody begins already in the title, with a man-o'-war named after a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinafore garment for little girls]], and continues with a crew of completely sober sailors, a captain who doesn't swear and a First Sea Lord who insists on micromanaging everything in spite of never having been closer to the ocean than a [[IncrediblyLamePun partnership]] in a law firm.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* Ride/DisneyThemeParks: Aside from ''Pirates of the Caribbean'', this trope is said word-for-word in the ''Sailing Ship Columbia'' attraction.

* ''Toys/{{LEGO Pirates}}''

[[folder:Video Games]]
* As Age of Sail simulation games, ''VideoGame/UnchartedWaters'' and its sequel ''VideoGame/UnchartedWatersNewHorizons'' use this trope quite a bit. Your captain and some of your mates appear far more clean and healthy than standard (owing to limited portraits and tiny sprites, mostly), but starvation, scurvy, piracy, and rats are all common. Unprepared players leaving European/North African waters for the first time are often in for a rude awakening.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' setting, naval expertise is the [[PlanetOfHats hat]] of Kul Tiras, a human kingdom which is basically an island nation with a large merchant fleet that was repurposed for warfare following the invasion of the orcs. Its ruler, Daelin Proudmoore, is often portrayed with an admiral's hat. In ''Warcraft II: Tides of War'', five naval units were given to each side: Oil Tankers, which gathered oil, the resource used to build other naval units, Destroyers, elven or troll ships which could attack units on land or in the air as well as other naval units, Transports, which had little armour and no weapons but could bring troops across bodies of water, Bruisers (Human Battleships, Ogre Juggernauts) which couldn't attack air units and moved and attacked more slowly than Destroyers, but hit like a truck when they did, and Submersibles (Gnomish Submarines, Giant Turtles with Goblin technology) which moved fairly slowly and could only attack sea units and buildings, but could only be seen by watch towers and flying units and attacked in rapid fire.
* From the ''VideoGame/TotalWar'' series
** ''VideoGame/EmpireTotalWar'' is set in the Age of Sail and is notably the first game in the series to have fully realised naval battles. Interestingly, one of the ships available in ''Empire'' is an oar-and-sail powered ''galley'' [[SchizoTech with forward-facing cannons]].
** ''VideoGame/NapoleonTotalWar'' is set in the period immediately following that of ''Empire'', and (in addition to sailing ships) features steamships and early ironclads, which led to the end of the Age of Sail, although they are not the strongest ships in the game.
** ''VideoGame/TotalWarShogun2'' gives a much more eastern take on this trope, covering what naval combat was like around Japan at the same time. Cannon use was minimal, as the Japanese had few cannons, most ships were propelled by oar deck crews, and much of the combat involved grappling and boarding action. More powerful ships were larger, with bigger crews and tougher enclosed decks to allow them to approach the enemy with minimal casualties from arrow fire. The most powerful ships in the game, in fact, are European trade ships, which would be one of the weakest ship types in ''Empire''. The ''Fall of the Samurai'' expansion pack brings the combat up into the industrial era, with ironclads quickly phasing out the old style of ship.
* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersPirates'' revolves entirely around this period in the Caribbean. The player character is a Privateer (not quite a pirate as it says on the tin) and will fight many (one-on-one) naval battles during the course of his/her career.
* The naval aspects of the ''VideoGame/EuropaUniversalis'' series live and breathe this trope, since the game spans virtually the entire Golden Age of Sail.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'', set in the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution, introduces naval combat to the series and manages to capture the experience quite well, despite some [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality liberties taken]], namely allowing you to participate in the awesomeness of the ''Battle of Chesapeake Bay''.
** The sequel, ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIVBlackFlag'', is set several decades before ''III'' and has you pilot a pirate ship during UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfPiracy and features open world naval combat, building on the Naval gameplay and taking it UpToEleven. Justified, as the non-modern main character is Connor's grandfather Edward Kenway, a pirate/assassin who is the colleague and equal of the likes of Benjamin Hornigold, UsefulNotes/{{Blackbeard}}, Charles Vane and Bartholomew Roberts.
** ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedRogue'' is a slightly different take, set in the mid-18th century. [[PlayerCharacter Shay Cormac]]'s ship ''Morrigan'' has a shallower draft than Edward Kenway's ''Jackdaw'', which allows Shay to engage in river travel.
* The Ancient Art of War at Sea
* ''VideoGame/TreasurePlanetBattleAtProcyon'', just like the film it is a sequel to, it is this [[{{Recycled in Space}} IN SPACE!]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/WhispersInTheWind'' is a webcomic where you get to follow a pirate crew and you can see how tough sailors can be.
* [[http://files.explosm.net/comics/Rob/you-kids.png This comic]] by ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness''.
-->'''Grandfather''': You kids have it too easy these days.
-->'''Grandfather''': I remember a time when boats were made of wood and men were made of steel…
-->'''Grandfather''': ([[FaceFramedInShadow aghast]]) The cyborgs destroyed our navy in minutes…

[[folder:Web Original]]
%%* ''Roleplay/OpenBlue''
* This is the general theme of the Soleil Alliance, based on the East India Company, in ''Literature/{{Lambda}}''. Except that you swap out "Iron Men" with "{{Magical Girl}}s".
* The Creator/ChoiceOfGames web game ''Choice of Broadsides'' is set here. With the option, at the beginning of the game, to be about Wooden Ships And Iron ''[[RuleSixtyThree Women]]''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* A ''WesternAnimation/WoodyWoodpecker'' short jokes with this trope's title. At one point, the narrator says something along the line of "It was an age of wooden ships, and iron men!" and the action cuts to a brief shot of [[VisualPun a boxy robot manning the wheel of a sailing vessel]].
* Many early ''WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}}'' shorts venture into this territory.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* RealityIsUnrealistic when it came to an Age of Sail mariner's diet. Sailors were usually quite well fed given the limitations and standards of the day. One surviving Royal Navy ration schedule specified 7lbs of Ship's Biscuit, 4lbs of Beef, 2lbs of Pork, 2pints of Peas, 1.5pints of Oatmeal, 6oz of Sugar, 6oz of Butter, 12oz of Cheese, and 7gallons of Beer ''per sailor per week''. That's a lot of food and was a minimum ration. A French historian calculated how many calories were allotted per day for each man during the Age of Sail and came to about 3000 calories per man in the Imperial Russian Navy, maybe 4000-4500 in the [[UsefulNotes/BritsWithBattleships Royal Navy]] [[BigEater and a staggering]] '''''6500 calories per day''''' in the Dutch Navy. Captains could, and often did, supplement their crew's rations with fresh foods when they were available (some even kept goats and hens on board at their own expense so that fresh milk and fresh eggs would be available). The beef and pork rations deserve special mention because the salted meats of the period which could be stored unrefrigerated and carried on board ships during long voyages without spoiling were much more expensive than fresh meat and sailors of the period ate a lot of meat (modern diets rarely call for even a quarter of as much meat as they were given). The seemingly excessive beer ration was the answer to the massive amounts of fluids someone exerting themselves heavily needs to avoid dehydration and the near impossibility of keeping fresh water stored in wooden barrels safe for human consumption without boiling it first.
** By-the-by, back then Royal Navy officers got the same rations as their crew and there was very little resentment in the Royal Navy towards the officer class by common sailors because promotion to Lieutenant was almost entirely merit based. For a the crew of a Royal Navy ship to mutiny (e.g. HMS ''Bounty'', HMS ''Hermione'') the highest ranking officer on board would have had to have made massive screw ups.
** Even today fresh local meat, fish, and poultry is often less expensive than meat, fish, and poultry that's been tinned, salted, smoked, and/or cured so that it doesn't need refrigeration. High quality Smoked Salmon in vacuum sealed packaging which can be shipped by a post office without spoiling can cost over 40 times as much per pound as fresh beef and over 9 times as much per pound as fresh Salmon that's been flown halfway across a continent.
* This might not precisely qualify, but in the 1500's Knights of Malta who survived at least a year as a Turkish galley slave and were then rescued frequently lived to nearly 100, in an era in which the average life expectancy hadn't hit 50 yet. Jean Parisot de Valette (who survived a year as a galley slave in his youth) commanded the 9,000 defenders of Malta against 40,000 invading Turks from the front lines and won. At age 70.
** Jean de Valette was a FourStarBadass.
** The Knights of Malta probably fit quite well, actually- they were noted for their love of naval warfare, constantly harrying Ottoman trade in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish campaign which drove them out of Rhodes, and the later (unsuccessful) campaign to drive them from Malta were intended to end their piracy. They're more strongly remembered as "knights" in the classical sense, given that they are mostly known as the successors of the original crusading order, and because their two most famous battles of the post-medieval era were the sieges of Rhodes and Malta, but naval warfare was actually what their contemporaries most knew them for.
* Invoked by name by Austrian sailors after winning the Battle of Lissa, remarking that "Men of iron on wooden ships have defeated men of wood on iron ships" after doing exactly that (a division of Austrian wooden steam warships had caught by surprise the Italian ironclads. Various wooden vessels got disabled, two ironclads were sunk -- despite Italian navy having numerical and technological advantage[[note]]34 ships including 12 modern ironclads, compared to 27 ships of which 5 outdated and 2 modern ironclads in the Austrian navy[[/note]]). It helped that the Austrian Navy was a direct descendant of the Venetian Navy, and thus had a long tradition and well-integrated crews, while the Italian navy was a recent fusion of the various pre-unification Italian navies (mostly those of Sardinia and Two Sicilies and half the Papal Navy), [[IgnoredExpert something the Italian admiral Carlo Persano had warned his superiors of, to no avail]], and the fact Persano had long stopped sailing before the war and mustered very little respect from the crews and officers the crews ([[IgnoredExpert again, something he had warned his superiors about without being listened to]], to the point that when he moved his flag from the ''Re d'Italia'' to the ''Affondatore'' right before the battle (something the Austrians took advantage of to "cross the T" and gain the upper hand) [[WeAreStrugglingTogether the captains and the two subordinate admirals feigned not to notice just so they would be able to ignore him]].
* Admiral David Farragut in UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar. "Damn the torpedoes[[note]]today we'd call them "mines"; they were more or less stationary explosive devices[[/note]]. Full speed ahead."
** It's worth mentioning that Admiral Farragut was the first ever U.S. Admiral, and on top of that he was positively ancient when he was commanding the navy during the civil war. So much so that he suffered from vertigo. To counter this he had himself lashed to his flagship's main mast so he wouldn't fall overboard.
* [[EyepatchOfPower Horatio]] [[FourStarBadass Nelson's]] [[BadassArmy Navy.]] Obviously. This cannot be overexaggerated. Fair portions of the Napoleonic Royal Navy were renowned for being dangerously brave and immensely tough, with figures such as Howe, Collingwood and Cochrane often taking on far superior odds and winning because they flat out refused to be afraid. Nelson was, of course, the King of this trope, as he supposedly had a death wish, exposing himself to deadly fire at every occasion, until he died at Trafalgar. Considering the wax-wane nature of his popularity, this might've be his [[ThanatosGambit plan all along.]] One of the reasons the Royal Navy became so feared is because it TookALevelInBadass (although it was pretty hard already) after King George II pulled a YouHaveFailedMe on Admiral John Byng ''[[Literature/{{Candide}} pour encourager les autres]].''
* John Paul Jones, one of the first heroes of the US Navy. When taunted by a British officer during a battle, he famously replied "I have not yet begun to fight!" Later in the same engagement, with his ship sinking, he was asked by the British if he had struck his colors (surrendered). He replied "I may sink, but I'll be damned if I strike." His ship did sink, but not until he had captured the British ship and transferred his crew over. Upon learning that the British captain had been knighted due to his actions in the battle, he said "Should I have the good fortune to fall in with him again, I'll make a lord of him."
* The Swedish Ship Götheborg. She is a modern replica of an 18th Century East India-man, built and crewed mostly by volunteers. She sailed from Sweden to China and back again, a trip that took almost two years and has since been sailing all over Europe. The rigging is one of the most accurate copies in the world and the only lines (that's a rope to landlubbers) that are not made of natural fibers are the mooring lines and a cable for the Man Over Board boat (a requirement by maritime law).
* Iron men and iron ships: 'Clippers', and later 'windjammers'. Clippers were fast cargo ships, usually three-masted full-riggers, designed for speed and used on hauling tea and other easily tarnished goods on intercontinental voyages. Windjammers were large cargo carrying sailing ships, usually rigged as four-masted barques, used on ultra-long voyages in the late-19th century and early 20th century. Typically, windjammers were (and are still) equipped with semi-mechanized rigging, steel profile masts and yards and steel cables as running rigging where possible. Often also the running rigging was handled by motor winches instead of manpower. Since the windjammer hull is optimized for good hydrodynamics because of sail handling, they were (and still are) capable of sustained high cruising speeds; most four-masted barques were able to cruise at 15 knots (28 km/h) on plausible winds, some logged 18 knots (33 km/h) regularly and ''Herzogin Cecilie'' is known to have logged 21 knots (39 km/h). Though the age of steam was clearly set to make them obsolete at the time of their making, they were still cheaper to build and maintain than their more advanced steam-powered counterparts. Even as steamers came to dominate short- and medium-distance shipping, they continued to make use of the great trade winds on the big, intercontinental cargo-hauls until long-distance steamships became more cost-efficient than them. Only the marine diesel engines spelled finally the death sentence to the windjammers.
** Sometimes subverted during [[TheGayNineties the age of]] [[TheEdwardianEra glory]] for the Clippers, since the very poor pay and long voyages on the sailing ships drove the skilled, honest and healthy sailors to steamers, so the clipper captains had to be content with all dockside scum for makeshift crews.
** ...and played straight during the inter-war era. Many countries required sailing ship experience for captain's proficiency, so many aspiring young seamen enlisted on windjammers for exactly that: to gain experience. The pay was a pittance and working conditions hard, but they gained the all-valuable experience.
** These ships could operate with smaller crews than would otherwise be necessary for such large sailing ships by the use of steam-powered winches called "Steam Donkeys", which be used to pull lines that would otherwise require the raw strength of many men.
*** The windjammers often sailed [[UpToEleven around the world voyages]], following prevailing winds and carrying different cargos on each leg: such as lumber from Europe to Africa, fertilizer from Africa to Australia and grain from Australia to Europe.
* Iron men and women and glassfiber ships: [[CrewOfOne Solo circumnavigation]]
* While the crews of some ships can inspire tales of heroism, the one fact remains that all of these ships eventually beceome just legend. But two ships have withstood the test of time, and are STILL in service (yes, with assigned crews) to this day: USS ''Constitution'' and HMS ''Victory''. The ''Constitution'' earned her fame during the UsefulNotes/WarOf1812, when she went toe to toe with HMS ''Guerriere'', and won, and then against the ''Java'' with the same result. After the ''Java'' joined the ''Guerriere'' at the bottom of the ocean, the British Admiralty issued an order to "Not engage American Frigates in single combat" - in other words, don't engage American ships one on one while cruising (the main British ships of the line were still a match in a major battle, but the lighter British frigates couldn't take on these heavier American ships). The ''Constitution''[='=]s success is mostly attributed to her construction (which made her both fast, and well protected), and her guns, which out-ranged those her closest competitors in the Royal Navy. She was also officially listed as a frigate, but her tonnage and armament made her comparable to a ship of the line. What's more, it soon became apparent that ''Constitution''[='=]s inexplicably efficient gunnery was the result of a crew composed largely of former Royal Navy seamen. That said, her construction mattered a great deal: her hull, made of Southern Live Oak, was so thick that when the ''Guerriere'' fired on her, some cannonballs just bounced off. One of ''Constitution''[='=]s gunners shouted, [[MadeOfIron "Huzzah! her sides are made of iron!"]], which gave her the nickname "Ol'Ironsides", which lasts to this day.
** As for the ''Victory,'' she wasn't the first ship to be given that name, but the one that remains is the one that saw the glory and death of Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. While Nelson's story gives the ship legend status, she's still a full-fledged Ship of the Line and thus a valuable piece of history as well. She was almost lost to time as well, but her significance was touted, and the British government agreed to maintain the ship as a testament to the Royal Navy's glory days.
*** ''Victory'' gets the nod for being the oldest ship in commission - she's 30 years older than the ''Constitution.'' However, the US ship has its own distinction: it's still afloat, whereas ''Victory'' is permanently drydocked. ''Constitution'' makes an annual cruise into Boston Harbor - usually under tow, but on special occasions (including her 200th birthday and the 200th anniversary of the ''Guerriere's'' defeat) she travels independently - i.e. via her own sails.
* Even on the inland seas...from the War of 1812, there were wooden-ship battles on the Great Lakes, and the Battle of Lake Erie provided a quote from Oliver Hazard Perry almost as famous as John Paul Jones's above: [[ComicStrip/{{Pogo}} "We have met the enemy and they are ours."]]
** During UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution, there was the Battle of Valcour Island, in October of 1776, which saw a flotilla of American gunboats engage a floatilla of British gunboats and warships on Lake Champlain. What made this engagement interesting was that both fleets had to be built on the lake to fight the battle, with the British actually disassembling a 180 ton warship, HMS ''Inflexible'', and shipping it up the river to be reassembled on the lake. One other thing that makes this battle [[DramaticIrony interesting for history students]] is that the American commander was a general by the name of [[{{Turncoat}} Benedict Arnold]]. The battle was a British PyrrhicVictory, with the delay caused by having to build their fleet preventing them from advancing into New York before winter set in. The next year would be a major turning point in the war, with the Americans winning key battles and gaining the French as allies.
* While mostly unknown in the West, Imperial Russia has a few men of note who were the terrors of the seas to their enemies. In particular, Russian ships often saw action in the Black Sea against the Ottoman Turks. Admiral Fyodor Ushakov was a noted commander known for beating the Turks despite the odds often being against him (the Turks often had him outmanned and outgunned). Specifically, Ushakov disliked the standard line-of-battle tactics and preferred to get right in the enemy's face with precision maneuvering and firing (which partly negates the enemy's advantage in numbers, as they risked hitting their own ships with massed broadsides. There's a reason the Russians chose to rename the ''Kirov'' battlecruiser to ''Admiral Ushakov'' after the fall of the USSR.
** And officially made him a Saint for his monk-like devotion and freeing the Orthodox Greeks from the Ottoman infidels' rule.
** The Koch is a type of wooden sailing ship with a massively reinforced and specially shaped hull meant for use in the Arctic among iceburgs and ice floes. They date back to Medieval Russia. Instead of being crushed by pack ice, a Koch would be lifted onto the ice. Modern Icebreakers are their descendents.
* Also fairly unknown in the West, despite ''taking place'' in the West, is the Naval Battle of Campeche, which pitted the short-lived Republic of Texas Navy and their allies from the Republic of Yucatan[[note]]Like the Republic of Texas, they had declared independence from Mexico[[/note]] against the Mexican Navy in 1843. The battle has the distinction of being the only time where [[RockBeatsLaser sailing ships defeated steamships in battle.]] Shortly after, the various Mexican warships in the area regrouped to form a single large force, and the Texan squadron [[KnowWhenToFoldEm sailed north to Galveston]].
* Honorable mention to German Count Felix von Luckner and his warship the ''Seeadler''. While they appeared in the middle of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, well past the wooden ships and iron men era, their actions were product of CrazyAwesome idea that a sailing ship (although of a metal hull) might make for a better long distance raider than a steam or diesel ship due to not needing overseas fueling stations--which it did. Luckner and his men raided the high seas for seven months between 1915 and 1916 and captured 15 Allied merchant ships (more than half of which were steamers), some of whose captains refused to believe that the ''Seeadler'' could possibly be a real German warship and not a practical joke.
* Honorable mention to Ernest Shackleton and other polar explorers of late 19th and early 20th centuries, who may not have been men of war but were nevertheless amazingly tough and disciplined lot. Bonus points for their ships actually being wooden, as wooden hulls could better withstand impact with icebergs than steel, given the technology of the era.