I have never used Great Admirals or Privateers before but in my current game I just learned how amazing they can be. I'm on Emporer diff. I'm playing the French and my territory is situated is such a fashion that there is only one 3 tile wide opening (between a CS's territory and the southern ice sheet) into a large sea in which I can be reached by water. Dido backstabbed me...again, and declared war with me with a giant fleet on the way. 6 Ironclads leading numerous infantry troops. I actually saw this invasion fleet about 5 turns earlier and traded + saved enough resources to buy some more ships. My fleet consisted of 2 Frigates, 2 Caravels and 4 Privateers and a GA. I used their speed to engage the Ironclads in Ocean tiles while they were still on the way, negating their strength. In just 3 turns Dido's fleet was now MY fleet and not a single Carthginian dog ever set foot on French soil. I lost 1 caravel and 1 privateer. One Ironclad was destroyed in the battle, 5 captured. Now this was wonderful except, you know how the AI is. I can only assume that when the English saw Dido's fleet that Lizzy felt like she was entitled to a piece of the action. Her fleet of 6 Ships of the Line was exactly 3 turns behind Dido's fleet so the very same turn I finished killing/capturing all of Dido's fleet...BAM Lizzy declares war and sinks two of my captured Ironclads without even scratching the paint on her ships. Now I've got superior numbers (almost 2 to 1) but my fleet is in shambles. All my vessels are at half strength or worse. Also Lizzies Unique Frigates are more powerful than my two and they can use their ranged attacks to sink my ships without losing health. Needless to say I was panicing. Then I remembered that GA's have (what I previously considered to be) a stupid and nearly useless ability to instantly heal ships in all surrounding tiles. Mwwwwuuuuhahahahahaha! I am now the proud owner of 4 Ships of the Line and 3 Ironclads. Captured vessels comprise 50% of my 14 ship Navy and it seems unlikely they will attempt a sea invasion again. Cheers to Great Admiral Shi Lang for his heroic sacrafice and to the very fun Privateer unit!