HMS Sibyl (1779)

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Monarch Mars Sybil Panther 4 Feb 1781.jpg
Monarch (left), Sybil (right) and Panther (right background) take the Dutch ship Mars (centre)
Royal Navy Ensign (1707-1801)Great Britain
Name: HMS Sibyl
Ordered: 24 July 1776
Builder: Henry Adams, Bucklers Hard
Laid down: 10 December 1776
Launched: 2 January 1779
Completed: 13 March 1779 (at Portsmouth Dockyard)
Commissioned: October 1778
Renamed: HMS Garland in 1795
Fate: Wrecked off Madagascar 26 July 1798
General characteristics
Class and type: 28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate frigate
Tons burthen: 599 2094 (bm)
  • 120 ft 7 in (36.75 m) (overall)
  • 99 ft 7 58 in (30.369 m) (keel)
Beam: 33 ft 7 12 in (10.2 m)
Depth of hold: 11 ft 0 in (3.35 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 200 officers and men
  • Upper deck: 24 × 9-pounder guns
  • QD: 4 x 6-pounder guns + 4 x 18-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 2 x 18-pounder carronades
  • 12 × swivel guns

HMS Sibyl was a 28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. The Sibyl was first commissioned in October 1778 under the command of Captain Thomas Pasley.

In 1783 Sibyl, Captain Vashon,[1] was in company with HMS Alarm and Tobago when they encountered the American frigate Alliance, which was escorting USS Duc de Lauzun. An inconclusive engagement developed between Sibyl and Alliance that proved to be the last battle of the American Revolutionary War. Alarm and Tobago neither participated in the engagement nor captured Duc de Lauzun. Sibyl was renamed Garland in 1795.


In February 1798 Captain J. C. Searle sailed Garland for the Cape of Good Hope. There Captain James Athol Wood replaced him.

Wood received information that a large French ship was anchored off Port Dauphiné, Madagascar.[2] He sailed Garland to investigate but as she approached the vessel on 26 July, Garland struck a rock and sank before she could be run onshore.[2] Still, the crew was able to take to the boats. Wood then decided to capture the French ship, which turned out to be a merchantman armed with 24 guns and carrying a crew of 150 men.[3] The French crew had run their ship onshore at Garland's approach and abandoned her. However, when they saw Garland run onshore, they tried to retrieve their own vessel. Wood and his boats had the wind and reached the merchantman first. Wood was able to convince the natives to hand most of the Frenchmen over to the British. It was five months before Star arrived to rescue Wood, his crew, and his prisoners. Star took the prisoners to Île de France. Wood and his men returned to the Cape in their prize, a small boat of 15 tons burthen that they had built, and some small vessels that were prizes to the Cape squadron.[3]

Wood returned to England, where on 15 December 1798 he and his officers were acquitted at the court martial for the loss of their ship.


  1. ^ Brotemarkle, Ben (November 15, 2017). "Revising Cape Canaveral history mean giving up some lore". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 14A.
  2. ^ a b Hepper (1994), p.87.
  3. ^ a b Marshall (1823), Vol. 1, Part 2, pp.791-2.


  • Robert Gardiner, The First Frigates, Conway Maritime Press, London 1992. ISBN 0-85177-601-9.
  • Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650-1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3.
  • David Lyon, The Sailing Navy List, Conway Maritime Press, London 1993. ISBN 0-85177-617-5.
  • Marshall, John ( 1823-1835) Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).
  • Rif Winfield, British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1714 to 1792, Seaforth Publishing, London 2007. ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6.