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I read a lot in the other threads about Jack Aubrey and Richard Bolitho. Hornblower gets some love as well, but nobody references Alan Lewrie. This is a series of 19(?) books starting with him as a Midshipman and for me, the best (bar none) naval adventure series. It has a blend of racy humour and highly technical sailing/combat that should appeal to every player of this game and the Devs should be using it as a text!. For all of you who have not experienced this series, I suggest you start immediately. The first book is "The Kings Coat", written by Dewie Lambden.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0101l89 From 2008. Available to listen to for the next 27 days. Naval battles, political intrigue and romantic rivalry loom large in Patrick O'Brian's novel, set in 1804-5 in England, India and on the high seas. Captain Jack Aubrey engages the Spanish at sea and the French on land - but falls victim to enemies at home.