HMS Challenger (1826)

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Wreck of HMS Challenger.jpg
The wreck of HMS Challenger, with a encampment built by the crew
Name: HMS Challenger
  • 9 June 1825
  • Reordered: 27 June 1825
Builder: Portsmouth Dockyard
Laid down: November 1825
Launched: 14 November 1826
Completed: By 9 March 1827
Fate: Wrecked on 19 May 1835
General characteristics
Class and type: 28-gun sixth rate
Tons burthen: 6029194 (bm)
  • Overall:125 ft 7 12 in (38.3 m)
  • Keel:105 ft 11 12 in (32.3 m)
Beam: 32 ft 8 in (10.0 m)
Depth of hold: 9 ft 3 14 in (2.8 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 175
  • Gun deck:20 × 32-pounder carronades
  • QD: 6 x 18-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 2 x 9-pounder

HMS Challenger was a 28-gun sixth rate of the Royal Navy launched at Portsmouth, England on 14 November 1826.


Under the command of Charles Fremantle, she was in part responsible for the creation of the colony of Swan River in 1829. Captain Freemantle was under orders to take possession of the western side of New Holland on behalf of the British government. Challenger arrived on 25 April 1829 off Garden Island. She attempted to sail into Cockburn Sound the next day, but due to the incompetence of the sailing master, struck a rock midway between Garden and Carnac Islands. Challenger was not seriously damaged.[1]


Challenger was wrecked off Mocha Island, Chile on 19 May 1835, with the loss of two lives. HMS Blonde rescued the survivors on 15 June.[2]

Challenger was under the command of Captain Michael Seymour. She sailed from Rio de Janeiro on 1 April, bound for Talcahuano. She was sailing off the coast of Chile when she struck on rocks in the late evening of 19 May. Overcast skies had prevented her from taking sightings since 17 May. The crew cut away her mizzen mast and the waves carried her over the rocks into calmer water. Pumping kept the water coming in from sinking her, but it was clear that she was lost. The morning revealed that she was a low, flat beach nearby. Over the next few days the crew used boats and rafts to evacuate Challenger, though some crew members died when their boats overturned in the surf. The crew were also able to salvage a considerable amount of her stores and to establish a camp. Local ranchers arrived and rendered assistance. The survivors abandoned their camp on 8 June and established a new camp at the mouth of the Lebu River, about 10 miles north. from there parties went overland to Concepción, Chile, about 40 miles away (as the crow flies). HMS Blonde arrived on 5 July. Investigation revealed that a powerful current had pushed Challenger onshore at Molfguilla.[3]


  1. ^ Henderson 1980, pp. 77–78.
  2. ^ "Loss of His Majesty's Frigate Challenger". The Morning Post (20236). 16 October 1835.
  3. ^ Hepper 1994, p. 162.