Believing that very little information on the ship still existed, the
research for Pickle, by our designer, started out as his own personal
project for a book. During this research, several important facts were
found making the production of an accurate representation of Pickle,
in kit form, possible. Although impossible to provide details of all
the research and findings, the below information formed the backbone
of the kit development. Further details will be available from our designer
and an announcement will be made on this website when his book is published.
Although certain sources state that Pickle was built in Plymouth, including
Burns, K.V. ‘Plymouth’s Ships of War’, 1972, which
states ‘The schooner Pickle was built as the Sting and purchased
as an armed tender by Lord Hugh Seymour in 1800’, it is far more
likely that she was built in Bermuda. Firstly because the British designed
and built Schooners were unpopular, being criticised by Admiral the
Earl St Vincent who called them
“a plague and bother to all who have them under their orders”
going on to say that they were
“no more like Bermudian Vessels than they are like Indian
Praams; if any more are built … the [Ber]Mudian builders [must
be] left to their own discretion”.
Also, it is known that the schooner Sting was one of several vessels
seized in harbour when the Dutch island of Curaçoa was capitulated
by Captain William Frederick Watkins of the 36-gun frigate Nereide;
furthermore it is known that this seized Sting was the schooner purchased
by Lord Hugh Seymour in January 1801 and renamed Pickle.
Although no line drawings for Pickle survive (or have currently been
found) the master’s log for Pickle, dated 21 February 1802, records
a number of her dimensions. With these figures, coupled to the fact
that Pickle [Sting] was almost certainly Bermuda built, line drawings
for a similar Bermuda built schooner were found and used as a basis
for the kit, a comparative table of the stated dimensions for Pickle
to the dimensions of the line drawings used now follows:
Stated Dimensions for Pickle
Admiralty Line Drawing Dimensions
Length on Gun Deck
Length of Keel for Tonnage
Depth in Hold
It should also be noted that ‘Tonnage’ as noted in the table
above bears no relation to the weight of the vessel, it is actually
an arbitrary ship builders figure defined in Lyon, David ‘The
Sailing Navy List – All the ships of the Royal Navy built, purchased
and captured – 1688-1860’ as follows:
“This is Builders Old Measurement worked out according to
the naval formula: a measure of burthen (carrying capacity, ie. volume
of the hull) rather than of displacement or therefore of weight. It
follows that this sort of ton has no metric equivalent. The way in which
it was calculated changed slightly in the early eighteenth century.
It was based on a formula involving length of keel for tonnage, breadth
and depth in hold, the result being divided by 94; which explains the
fractions being in ninety-fourths. This is the figure given in contemporary
documents and does at least give some standard of comparison for different
vessels. Like the dimensions the tonnage figures are normally the design
ones for ships and classes built for the Navy; for prizes and purchases
they are the specific ‘as taken off’ figures.”
As the dimensions for length on gun deck, length of keel for tonnage,
breadth and depth in hold for Pickle and the line drawings used are
so similar, coupled to the fact that the tonnage figures are also very
similar, it follows that the overall hull shape for Pickle would have
been almost identical to the line drawings on which the kit has been
There is also a contemporary aquatint engraving by the famous marine
artist Robert Dodd, well known not only for his ability to capture the
atmosphere of a battle but also for his technical accuracy. Robert Dodd
lived and worked at 41 Charing Cross Road (now Whitehall), advertised
as “six doors from the Admiralty”, and Naval Officers regularly
visited him with information or to commission or buy pictures - this
is exactly what Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotiere did in November
1805. This one painting, now of the Warwick Leadlay Gallery, is therefore
the most accurate representation of Pickle available today, not only
because it was painted by Robert Dodd but because he did so with Lapenotiere
leaning over his shoulder. The engraving is titled "Victory of
Trafalgar in the Rear" and Pickle can be seen on the right, rescuing
the crew of the French Achille.
Although the general information and sources are too numerous to list
here, the following are a selection of the more important known facts
She was a topsail schooner.
She was coppered to the waterline.
She had seven gunports plus two stern chase ports.
She carried two ships boats.
At the Battle of Trafalgar she carried 6x12pounder carronades.
At the Battle of Trafalgar she was manned by a crew of 40 men.
Further details will be available from our designer and an announcement
will be made on this website when his book is published.