HMS Sultana

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HMS Sultana was a small Royal Navy schooner that patrolled the American coast from 1768 through 1772, preventing smuggling and collecting duties. She was retired when unrest in Britain's American colonies required larger, better armed patrol craft.

The Sultana was built in the yard of renowned Boston Shipwright Benjamin Hallowell in 1767, probably as a yacht. She made one voyage from Boston to England before she was purchased by the Royal Navy, named HMS Sultana, and sent back to the colonies as a coast guard vessel. At the time of purchase, her lines were taken off and a draught of the hull filed at the Admiralty.

His Majesty’s Schooner Sultana left Dungeness on the morning of August 27, 1768, carrying a crew of twenty-five men and eight swivel guns. Her assignment was to enforce the Townshend Acts (and to enforce tea taxes) by stopping smugglers. The Sultana's logbook began on July 15, 1768. Her commander was Lieutenant John Inglis. Inglis would end his service to the crown as Vice Admiral of the Blue.

The schooner’s master was David Bruce.

The Sultana's first assignment once she reached Halifax was to proceed to Boston to help land General Gage’s troops in Boston for the protection of customs officials. Following that, she sailed up and down the coast of the Colonies, visiting Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and many spots in the lower Chesapeake tidewater region. On October 10, 1772 the Sultana set off to England where she was sold at auction for a meager 85 pounds.

Modern replicas

A new Sultana launched in Chestertown, Maryland in 2001 serves as an educational vessel for schoolchildren as it travels around the Chesapeake Bay. Each year there are public excursions out of Chestertown and other ports. Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown is always the first weekend in November. Replica sailing ships from all around the mid-Atlantic participate in sailing excursions and allow the public on board.

The replica vessel is not an exact reconstruction. It has a diesel auxiliary engine and otherwise conforms to Coast Guard regulations in order to carry passengers. The modern version is framed with osage orange and planked with oak; there is a lead ballast keel which the original did not have. Given modern safety requirements, however, she was built following traditional methods as much as possible.

The Howard I. Chapelle drawings of Sultana, traced from the Admiralty draughts, also inspired another modern vessel, Larinda. She was junk-rigged, however, and featured whimsical details like a frog for a figurehead.


See also

  • Ship replica (including a list of ship replicas)
  • Gaspée Affair. The schooner HMS Gaspée was purchased into the Royal Navy for the same purpose as Sultana. In 1772, Rhode Islanders burned the vessel. A Gaspée Days celebration is held every year.

External links

Coordinates: 42°59′47″N 69°32′26″W / 42.99639°N 69.54056°W / 42.99639; -69.54056