Out of time. Why the Trincomalee was important to the Victorians

I find HMS Trincomalee a fascinating ship, in many ways a ship out of time. Ordered by none other than Nelson, but completed too late to be used in anger, the Trinc lay mothballed for 50 years, before being commissioned, as a Corvette, and used to patrol the Caribbean and down to South America, then later to receive a second commission on the West coast of the USA and across to Hawaii. Her abilities included her shallow draft, and range that extended beyond that of the coal powered steam vessels of the time.

Imagine if we mothballed ships, or aircraft, now for 50 years before finding a use for them, it seems inconceivable.

So here we have a Georgian ship, sailing in Victoria's navy and going on to be a Training ship in the 20th Century, still serving in Portsmouth Harbour, under the assumed name of Foudroyant, until the middle of the century. I know this having spent 10 days aboard in 1968, learning to sail, row, knit, tie knots, set rigging, swing hammocks, and basically learn how to look after myself on board a ship with fairly minimal facilities. A great experience, but one that can't be repeated today.

I find it's story fascinating, but also intriguing, so much so that i'm currently writing a time travel novel based on the ships unusual career and offering an alternative view as to how she came about.

History was made when Nelson ordered a fleet of these Leda class vessels, as previously the norm was to order three designs, from different shipyards and use all three in a mixed fleet. Ultimately a logistical and practical disaster, so why did Nelson commit to one design, thereby upsetting the Admiralty...

I have one theory, but you'll have to wait for the book to discover what it is.

Dr Dibble

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