The Spanish Armada set sail but are spotted by a fast boat heading to England days before they arrive. The beacon system quickly signals to the whole of England was days before the attack happened. This meant that instead of the Spanish Armada having an upper hand because they would have the element of suprise; the English had the element of suprise as the Soanish would not realise that the whole of England were prepared for the fight.
The English face the Spanish Armada in the English Channel. Although the fight is fierce the English only sink a few of the Spanish Armada's ships.
The Spanish Armada drop their anchor at Calais (france) and wait for their reinforcements to arrive.
While the Spanish Armada was docked at Calais the English commander, Francais Drake cam up with the idea to put tar, oil and pig fat, set it on fire and send it drifting to where the Spanish Armada was docked.