The articles examines some little-known aspects of the fleet built from scratch by the rebel Corsican government of Pasquale Paoli, on the basis of a number of mostly unpublished sources. A decisive role in the development of this fleet was played by the ships and sailors of Bonifacio, of the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily and of the Tuscan Presidi under Neapolitan rule. The author analyses the interests and tensions underlying the alliance between Paolist corsairs and smugglers on one side, sailors, merchants, brokers and foreign government officials on the other side, enabling the former to take advantage of the resources and extensive trade networks of the latter. He focuses on a specific case, which throws light on general problems of the sea world in the old regime, such as the extensive network of interests revolving around corsair warfare and smuggling, or the strategic role played by certain types of goods and resources, or the widespread use of false identities and "flags of convenience". These phenomena are usually more pronounced in periods of warfare; they were particularly evident during the Cosican-Genoese conflict, partly because of their links with the crucial question of the acknowledgement of the Corsican flag.
Keywords: corsairs, smuggling, networks of relations, false identities, salt, deserters