HMS Diane

"... she certainly proved a sound, dry, weatherly ship, carrying an easy helm, wearing and staying quick and lying to remarkably well under reefed maincourse and mizen staysail, she lacked that thoroughbred quality, that extraordinary manoeuvrability and turn of speed close-hauled."

1813:  In The Thirteen Gun Salute, before reaching South America Jack Aubrey is recalled to England (although the Surprise continues its voyage to the Pacific under the command of Thomas Pullings) to be reinstated in the Navy and given the 32-gun frigate HMS Diane, formerly a new-built French ship he himself had captured with the Surprise in The Letter of Marque.  After sailing to the East Indies the Diane is eventually lost in a wreck upon rocks.

The Diane appears to have no direct "real world" counterpart, being described as having been rated at 30 guns in the French navy with the main battery guns as 18-pounders.  Jack mentions that she has "the scantlings of a 40-gun ship," indicating her unusually stout construction.  By 1813, however, France was not building frigates that small with such heavy guns.  A reasonable model may be provided by the Amphion class of 18-pounder 32-gun frigates built for the Royal Navy in the 1790's.  Although the design was of English origin, a French influence is evident in the length of the vessel, substantially greater than that standard for earlier British 32-gun frigates.  In 1826 the Amphion was utilized as a breakwater.

The data below are for HMS Amphion (Winfield 153):

Launched Length Keel Breadth Hold Tonnage Crew
1798 144' 1/2" 121' 6 7/8" 37' 7 1/4" 12' 6" 914 40/94 254

Armament:  Upper Deck twenty-six 18-pound long guns, Quarterdeck four 6-pound long guns and four 24-pound carronades, Forecastle two 6-pound long guns and two 24-pound carronades.

 WAmphion.jpg (80288 bytes)Plans for HMS Amphion (Lyon 26)


Nutmeg of Consolation

"... a tight, sweet, newly-coppered, broad-buttocked little ship, a solace to any man's heart."

1813:  After Jack and his crew are rescued early in The Nutmeg of Consolation from the site of the Diane's wreck, he assumes command of a captured Dutch 20-gun vessel that he renames as the Nutmeg of Consolation after one of the honorific names of a local sultan.  After Jack's rendezvous with the Surprise later in the novel, he again takes command of his old favorite and returns the Nutmeg to the local British governor. 

Patrick O'Brian's notes for writing the novel indicate that he had two Royal Navy vessels in mind as possible models for the Nutmeg, although neither was a Dutch prize.  Given the description in the novel, it seems likely that the Sixth Rate Camilla of the Sphinx class was the basic prototype of the Nutmeg.

The data below are for HMS Camilla (Winfield 226):

Launched Length Keel Breadth Hold Tonnage Crew
1776 108' 1 1/4" 89' 10 3/8" 30' 1" 9' 8" 432 56/94 140

Armament:  Twenty 9-pound long guns.

 WSphinx.jpg (67989 bytes)Plans for HMS Sphinx (Lyon 90)


HMHV Surprise

1813:  Jack continues as captain of the Surprise throughout The Truelove (also known as Clarissa Oakes) and The Wine Dark Sea as he crosses the Pacific Ocean to the fictional island of Moahu and then to South America.  The official status of the Surprise at this point is complex.  She is a privately owned vessel ostensibly on a privateering cruise but, in fact, engaged in a secret Admiralty mission, commanded by a Royal Navy officer.  Technically, she is operating as "His Majesty's Hired Vessel Surprise".

  WSurprise.jpg (85976 bytes)Plans for HMS Surprise (Gardiner 110-11)



"Long and low, a right privateer."

1813:  In The Wine Dark Sea while cruising off the Pacific coast of Peru, Jack temporarily transfers to the captured 22-gun American-French privateer Franklin.

No direct model for the Franklin is obvious, although the description of her as "long and low" suggests that all her guns would have been carried on a single deck, perhaps like the captured French privateer Volage, a privateer captured by the Melampus in 1798 and taken into the Royal Navy as a Sixth Rate.  She was broken up in 1804.

The data below are for HMS Volage (Lyon 248) 

Launched Length Keel Breadth Hold Tonnage Crew
1797 118' 10 1/2" 99' 5 1/2" 31' 5 1/4" 8' 4" 522 79/94 155

Armament:  Twenty-two 32-pound carronades.  

WVolage.jpg (81373 bytes) Plans for HMS Volage (Lyon 248)


HMS Bellona

"She was always an uncommonly weatherly ship ... rolls easy, makes nine and even ten knots close-hauled on a brisk topgallant breeze, steers easy, wears quick, lies to perfectly well under maincourse and mizzen staysail, fore-reaching prodigiously all the while - amazing great wash."

1813 - 1814:  After his return to England aboard the Surprise, Jack Aubrey in The Commodore is appointed as commodore to command a squadron off the coast of West Africa, with secret orders to proceed to Ireland later to intercept a planned French invasion.  As his flagship he is given the 74-gun line-of-battle ship HMS Bellona, with Thomas Pullings as his flag captain.

In The Yellow Admiral Jack, no longer acting as a commodore but still in the Bellona, is ordered on blockade duty on the Atlantic coast of France until the end of the war, when he and the Bellona return to England.

Bellona was an actual 74-gun ship, launched in 1760 and remaining in service until 1814.  Bellona was the first of only three ships in her class, but the design was considered successful enough to give rise to two slightly modified classes that eventually included almost two dozen additional ships-of-the-line.  Shewas broken up in 1814.

The data below are for HMS Bellona (Winfield 43) 

Launched Length Keel Breadth Hold Tonnage Crew
1760 168' 138' 46' 11" 19' 9" 1615 70/94 550

Armament:  Gun Deck twenty-eight 32-pound long guns, Upper Deck twenty-eight 18-pound long guns, Quarterdeck fourteen 9-pound long guns, Forecastle four 9-pound long guns.

WBellona.jpg (83877 bytes)Plans for HMS Bellona (Lavery [74] 30-31)


HMS Pomone

"... he did notice the curious, bedraggled appearance of the usually trim and more than trim Pomone, with yards all uneven, sails drooping, sagging in the breeze, rope-ends here and there. He had never seen a man-of-war look so desolate."

1815:  In The Hundred Days the Admiralty again attempts the secret mission aimed against the Pacific coast of South American and dispatches Jack Aubrey in the Surprise, but almost immediately unexpected events intervene.  Napoleon has escaped from Elba and is back in France, and new orders are sent to Jack to divert to Gibraltar as a squadron commodore aboard HMS Pomone, a 38-gun frigate. 

The Pomone was a genuine Royal Navy ship and one that was familiar to Jack Aubrey; she had been the French Astree, captured at the surrender of Mauritius in The Mauritius Campaign.  She had been built at Genoa to the same specifications by Jacques-NoŽl Sanť that had earlier been used for the frigate Virginie that, like so many other French frigates, had also been taken prize by the Royal Navy.  The Pomone was broken up in 1816.

The data below are for HMS Pomone (Winfield 181):  

Launched Length Keel Breadth Hold Tonnage Crew
1809 152' 127' 6" 40' 2" 12' 9" 1093 42/94 300

Armament:  Upper Deck twenty-eight 18-pound longs guns, Quarterdeck fourteen 32-pound carronades, Forecastle two 9-pound long guns and two 32-pound carronades.

WVirginie.jpg (73164 bytes)Plans for HMS Virginie (Boudriot 201-01)


HMHV Surprise

1815 - 1817:   Upon arriving at Gibraltar at the beginning of The Hundred Days Jack transfers his pennant as commodore to the Surprise.  Once Napoleon is defeated, Jack finds he must return to England to refit before continuing on to South America in Blue at the Mizzen.  Finally in the Pacific, Jack supports revolutionary efforts against Spain and while still there receives word that he has been promoted to Rear Admiral.  He departs on the Surprise to sail to the Atlantic to take up his new duties early in 21: The Final, Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey.

WSurprise.jpg (85976 bytes)Plans for HMS Surprise (Gardiner 110-11)


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