What's more, the big cannons found on Spanish galleons, usually dangerous to any enemy ship that came up on their side, were of limited use during this fight. And while the caliber of the English cannons may have been smaller, they enjoyed an advantage in accuracy, range and the amount of time it took to reload. The boats were also longer and could carry more ordinance.
On the evening of July 28, Spanish galleons anchored off the French coast near Calais, were set upon by the English, who set alight several boats filled with explosive materials and tar. This had the effect of breaking up the tight Spanish formation. Spanish ships soon found themselves vulnerable to separate and repeated attacks by the English leading up to a major engagement near the port of Gravelines.
A weakened Spanish fleet was further decimated during the return trip to Spain when high winds and rough waves caused even more losses. By the time the galleons made it back home, nly 65 ships remained. With the defeat of the Spanish Armada, England began to emerge as a world power in its own right.