|Preceded by:||Baltimore class|
|Succeeded by:||Hind class|
|General characteristics (common design)|
|Tons burthen:||268 77⁄94 bm|
|Beam:||26 ft 0 in (7.9 m)|
|Depth of hold:||
|Sail plan:||Snow brig|
The Merlin class was a class of twenty-one sloops of wooden construction built for the Royal Navy between 1743 and 1746. They were all built by contract with commercial builders to a common design prepared by Jacob Acworth, the Surveyor of the Navy; however, there was a difference, with a platform deck being constructed in the hold in Swallow (i), Merlin, Raven and Swallow (ii), whereas the other seventeen had no platform and thus their depth in hold was nearly twice as much.
Although initially armed with ten 6-pounder guns, this class was built with seven pairs of gunports on the upper deck, enabling them to be re-armed with fourteen 6-pounders later in their careers.
The first two - Swallow and Merlin - were ordered on 7 July 1743 to be built to replace two ex-Spanish vessels (the Galgo and Peregrine's Prize, both captured in 1742, and put into service by the British). Two more vessels to the same design were ordered on 30 March 1744; another two were ordered five days later, four more followed on 23 May and three others were ordered later that year.
On 5 April 1745 five more were ordered - including a second Falcon (named to replace the first, captured in the same year) and a second Swallow (similarly to replace the first, wrecked in 1744) - and a single extra vessel was ordered on 11 April. A final pair were ordered on 9 January 1746.
|Swallow (i)||7 July 1743||John Buxton, Jnr.,
|17 February 1744||Wrecked 24 December 1744 in the Bahamas.|
|Merlin||7 July 1743||Greville & Whetsone,
|20 March 1744||Sold 16 November 1748 at Plymouth.|
|Speedwell||30 March 1744||John Buxton, Jnr.,
|9 November 1744||Sold 13 November 1750 at Deptford.|
|Falcon (i)||30 March 1744||John Barnard,
|12 November 1744||Captured by the French 28 September 1745, retaken 6 March 1746 and renamed Fortune, sold 20 March 1770 at Woolwich.|
|Hazard||4 April 1744||John Buxton, Snr.,
|11 December 1744||Captured by the Jacobites 24 November 1745 and handed over to the French; retaken 25 March 1746, sold 7 September 1749 at Deptford.|
|Lizard||4 April 1744||Philemon Ewer,
|22 December 1744||Wrecked 27 February 1748 in the Isles of Scilly.|
|Hinchingbrooke||23 May 1744||Moody Janvrin,
|8 March 1745||Captured by the French 10 December 1746 off Berry Head.|
|Tavistock||23 May 1744||John Darley,
|22 March 1745||Renamed Albany on 20 August 1747, sold 3 May 1763 at Woolwich.|
|Hound||23 May 1744||Daniel Stow & Benjamin Bartlett,
|22 May 1745||Sold 27 October 1773 at Deptford.|
|Hornet||23 May 1744||Chitty & Quallett,
|3 August 1745||Sold 3 April 1770 at Chatham Dockyard.|
|Raven||27 August 1744||Hugh Blaydes,
|4 July 1745||Sold 31 March 1763 at Deptford.|
|Swan||6 October 1744||Thomas Hinks,
|14 December 1745||Sold 31 March 1763 at Sheerness.|
|Badger||10 October 1744||Moody Janvrin,
|5 August 1745||Wrecked 24 September 1762 in the Orkney Islands.|
|Falcon (ii)||5 April 1745||William Alexander,
|30 November 1745||Wrecked 19 April 1759 on the Îles des Saintes, off Guadeloupe.|
|Scorpion||5 April 1745||James Wyatt and John Major,
|8 July 1746||Wrecked 23 September 1762 off the Isle of Man.|
|Swallow (ii)||5 April 1745||Henry Bird,
|14 December 1745||Sold 20 June 1769 at Deptford.|
|Kingfisher||5 April 1745||John Darley,
|12 December 1745||Sold 3 May 1763 at Woolwich.|
|Dispatch||5 April 1744||Daniel Stow & Benjamin Bartlett,
|30 December 1745||Sold 27 October 1773 at Deptford.|
|Viper||11 April 1745||Tito Durrell,
|11 June 1746||Converted to a fireship and renamed Lightning on 29 July 1755; sold 30 December 1762 at Woolwich.|
|Grampus||9 January 1746||John Reed,
|3 November 1746||Converted to a fireship in early 1762 and renamed Strombolo on 6 March 1771; hulked as a prison ship at New York City in September 1780 and sold there later the same year.|
|Saltash||9 January 1746||John Quallett & John Allin,
|19 December 1746||Sold 15 February 1763 at Deptford.|
- Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2006) . Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy (Rev. ed.). London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-281-8. OCLC 67375475.
- McLaughlan, Ian. The Sloop of War 1650-1763. Seaforth Publishing, 2014. ISBN 978-1-84832-187-8.
- Winfield, Rif. British Warships in the Age of Sail 1714-1792: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6.