Vessels below the size of the smallest frigates were not rated and generally referred to as sloops. Speedwell was a merchant vessel purchased by the Admiralty. In 1780 she arrived in Gibraltar after an engagement en route that wounded her commander. She served at Gibraltar during the Great Siege during the American War of Independence and it seems her officers had some problems with potentially mutinous crews there. In late 1782, during the siege, the Spanish two decker San Miguel got into difficulty during a storm and was beached after being fired on. A boat from Speedwell later took possession. The Spanish ship was a new build from Havana with a crew of over 600 men. The officers and crew of Speedwell subsequently participated in 4 bounty distributions – largely arising from capture of the San Miguel. At the commencement of the war with France in 1796 Speedwell captured a French privateer that attempted to board her. After more adventures in the English Channel and North Sea, Speedwell was finally lost at sea in a storm near Dieppe in 1807. There were no survivors.
Leingth: 22.9 m o/a; Beam: 7.9 m; Crew: 70; tons: 19 BM [Builder’s Old Measurement]; Armament: 14 x 4-pounder guns (later 16) + 10 x ½-pound swivel guns.