Snake-class ship-sloop

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Class overview
Name: Snake class
Operators:  Royal Navy
In service: 1797–1845
Completed: 4
General characteristics [1]
Type: ship-sloop
Tons burthen: 3824194 (bm)
Length: 100 ft (30.5 m) (overall); 77 ft 3 12 in (23.6 m) (keel)
Beam: 30 ft 6 in (9.3 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft 9 in (3.9 m)
Complement: 121

The Snake-class ship-sloops were a class of four Royal Navy sloops-of-war built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.[2][3][4] Though ships of the class were designed with the hull of a brig, their defining feature of a ship-rig changed their classification to that of a ship-sloop rather than that of a brig-sloop.[5]

Service History[edit]

In December 1796 the Royal navy placed orders for four new sloops. The Navy Board considered two differing schools of design, one led by Sir William Rule and another by Sir John Henslow. To compare the qualities of ship-rigged and brig-rigged vessels, a ship of each design was to be completed as a ship-sloop and the other as a brig-sloop. In the end the Henslow designs won out, resulting in the Snake and Cruizer-class being adopted into Royal Navy service.[6]

The Snake-class ships were designed as 18 gun flush deck brigs with a three-masted ship rig. Of their 18 guns, 16 were 32-pounder Carronades, granting the ships a large amount of firepower for their size.[2] In terms of crew and hull design, the Snake-class was identical to the more prevalent Cruzier-class. Two ships of the class were launched, HMS Snake and HMS Victor. Reception to the design was mixed; the mounting of a ship-rig on a brig's hull made the vessels unstable in heavy seas, but also increased the survive-ability of the ship in combat. Both the Victor and Snake were relegated to service in the Mediterranean Sea for this reason.[4] Both of the original Snake-class ships were removed from service by 1810, and their role was soon filled by the larger and better armed Cyrus class.[2]

In 1827 the Naval Board revived the 1797 design and launched two new Snake-class warships, HMS Childers and HMS Cruizer.[4][7]



  1. ^ Winfield (2008), pp. 282 & 291.
  2. ^ a b c Tucker, Spencer C. (2014-06-11). The Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Early American Republic, 1783–1812: A Political, Social, and Military History [3 volumes]: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598841572.
  3. ^ Colledge, J. J.; Warlow, Ben (2010-02-28). Ships of the Royal Navy: A Complete Record of all Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy from the 15th Century to the Present. Casemate / Greenhill. ISBN 9781612000275.
  4. ^ a b c Winfield, Rif & Lyon, David (2004). The Sail and Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815–1889. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-032-6. OCLC 52620555.
  5. ^ Rif Winfield, British Warships in the Age of Sail 1817–1863: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates (Seaforth Publishing, 2014) ISBN 978-1-84832-169-4.
  6. ^ Gardiner, Robert (1996). The Naval War of 1812. Caxton pictorial history. ISBN 1-84067-360-5.
  7. ^ "HMS Cruiser / Cruizer". Retrieved 2017-02-27.