In December of 1386, Richard Fitzalan, the Earl of Arundel was appointed by Parliament as Admiral of the Northern and Western Fleet. By March of 1387 he had 60 vessels and 2500 troops at his command. He took trouble to ensure he hired good quality soldiers, perhaps wanting to compensate for his poor defense of the Sussex coast during French raiding some years earlier.
Arundel put to sea on March 23 and encountered the French fleet of 250 ships the day after. A fierce battle ensued, which Arundel won. While the English were initially heavily outnumbered, they had a higher proportion of trained soldiers and many ships in the French fleet were Dutch and German vessels, which changed sides during the conflict. Arundel captured well over 50 French ships, scattering the remainder.
Later in the year, and the year following Arundel harried the French coast, taking the fortress at Brest and raiding and burning Ile de Batz and various islands off the French coast.