Beagle class sloop

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HMS Nymphe (1888).jpg
A photograph of HMS Nymphe, visually idential to the Beagle class
Class overview
Name:Beagle class sloops
Operators: Royal Navy
In commission:1889–1920
General characteristics
Type: Screw Steel Sloop
Displacement: 1170 tons[1]
Length: 195 ft (59 m) [2]
Beam: 30 ft (9.1 m) [3]
Draught: 13 ft (4.0 m) [3]
Installed power: 2000 horsepower[4]
Propulsion: Three-cylinder horizontal triple-expansion steam engine
Twin screws
Sail plan: Barquentine rig
Endurance: 3,000 nmi (5,600 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)[2]
Complement: 138 [2]

As built
Eight BL 5-inch (127.0 mm) 50-pounder guns
After 1900

Eight Quick-firing guns
Armour: Protective deck of 1 in (2.5 cm)-1.5 in (3.8 cm) steel over the machinery and boilers[2]

The Beagle class was a two-ship class of 8-gun screw steel sloops [5] built for the Royal Navy in 1889.


Beagle and Basilisk were constructed of copper-sheathed steel to a design by William White, the Royal Navy Director of Naval Construction. They were powered by a twin-screw three-cylinder horizontal triple expansion steam engine developing 2,000 horsepower (1,500 kW) and carried a barquentine sail rig.[2] They were essentially the same design as the preceding Nymphe class, but built of steel rather than of composite wood-and-steel.[2]

Operational Use

In common with other designs of Royal Navy sloop of the period, the Beagle class were not intended or designed to fight a modern fleet action; they were intended to patrol Britains' extensive maritime empire, and this is how they were employed. Beagle conducted three foreign commissions between 1890 and 1900, at least two of which were on the South Atlantic Station.[1] She was refitted in 1900, during which her 5-inch (130 mm) breech-loading guns were replaced with quick-firing guns. Basilisk also spent all or part of her career on the South Atlantic Station. [4]


Name Ship Builder Launched Fate
HMS Beagle Portsmouth Royal Dockyard 28 February 1889 Sold to BU on 11 July 1905[1][2][5]
HMS Basilisk Sheerness Royal Dockyard 6 April 1889 Became coal hulk C7 and sold as Maggie Grech in 1905[2][4][5]