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HMS Alert, 1790

£20.00

Alert:  The first brig built expressly for the Royal Navy
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Description

Alert:  
Topsail Cutter rig;

Built: Henry Ladd,  Beach Street, Dover, UK
Ordered: 1776; Laid: 1777; Launched: 1777;
110 Tons; Length: 79′ (24 m); Beam: 25′ (8 m); Hold Depth: 11′ ft’ (3 m);
Armament: 10 Guns: 10 x 4 lb (1,8 kg); 12 swivel guns;
In the sailing navy only the smallest classes of vessels, such as cutters and schooners, were fore-and-aft rigged. All warships of any size were three masted square-rigged ships. The Alert is an example of one of the first naval brigs. She was the first vessel of the type to be built expressly for the Royal Navy, previous ships having been purchased from outside the service among the fleets of merchant vessels of the period. Designed by Sir John Williams, she was the first of a class of eight similar ships built between 1775 and 1783. Acting as a fleet auxiliary, the brig could also be used for general scouting, patrolling and despatch duties and it also made, with an armament of anything up to sixteen 32-pounders, a useful convoy escort, a duty much in demand during the French wars when various Convoy Regulations were introduced forcing merchant vessels to sail in company under naval protection and under strict rules. She may have been the 10-gun cutter launched at Dover and captured by the French ship Diligente in September 1780 in the Bay of Biscay. The prize was valued at Lt 52,405. In French service she was armed with six 8-pounder guns and twelve 18-pounder howitzers. Perseverance recaptured her in North American waters on 7 December 1781 ‘after a strong resistance’. She was re-armed in 1790 with 14 6-pounders. There is a model of the hull construction of this vessel at the Science Museum, Kensington, London, England (see here).

Additional information

Weight 0.0222 kg
Dimensions 43.1 × 35.6 cm