In my sophomore year at Presbyterian College (one of the colleges I attended) while looking for diversionary entertainment reading to distract me from my numerous studies I happened upon the Adventures of Horatio Hornblower: The Hornblower Saga. I read every book in the series by Forester during that year, practically devouring them. I bought many of those books over time and still have some in my personal library.
It was an epiphany and my first real introduction into long series Historical Fiction. I loved them. To this day Hornblower remains my favorite fictional Commander of any ship during the Age of Sail. And one of my favorite Ship Commanders ever. Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise is based upon Hornblower.
The difference is that over time Hornblower commanded numerous ships and even squadrons during his career.
There was an amazingly good television show detailing some of the career of Hornblower though it was very sparse in detail compared to the books. I highly recommend the series.