The USS HORNET Project – Building a Replica of the Historic Sloop of War

Rendering of the USS Hornet

The Naval Heritage Society is attempting to to build a full-scale, fully functional replica of of the USS Hornet, a sloop of war built in 1805, which had a successful career in the War of 1812 and beyond, before being lost in a hurricane in 1829.  NHS is endeavoring to raise $12.6 million to fund the project and hopes to lay the keel for replica on July 4th of 2012.  Melbourne Smith, the lead designer for the project, was involved in the design of the 1812 privateer Lynx and the brig Niagara, as well as Pride of Baltimore, Spirit of Massachusetts and as an advisor to the replica of Captain Cook’s bark Endeavor.  The project Master Shipbuilder, William Elliott, is widely experienced in wooden ship construction and repair including the  the complete reconstruction of the three masted schooner CA Thayer for the National Park Service, construction of the brig Niagara for the State of Pennsylvania, and construction of the schooner Californian. He also conducted major planking and caulking overhauls of six wooden MSO class minesweepers for the U.S. Navy.

The USS HORNET Project

During the War of 1812 this “vicious little ship” gained a reputation for “speedily running her challengers under”. In the entire conflict, she is one of only two vessels whose commanders were awarded Congressional Gold Medals for multiple victories – the other being the legendary USS Constitution herself. 

But victory at sea is only a part of this ship’s amazing story. Through feats of seamanship, daring and perseverance, Hornet’s crew built a heritage of excellence that has resonated through two centuries and remains ingrained in the US Navy today.

Today, the Naval Heritage Society is on a mission to build a full-scale, fully functional replica of this incredible ship. The completed vessel will serve as home of a revolutionary series of teamwork and leadership programs based on naval discipline and tradition.

There have been eight ships named Hornet in the US Navy, including two World war II aircraft carriers, one of which is now a museum ship in Alemeda, CA.

Thanks to Alaric Bond for passing the news along.


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3 Responses to The USS HORNET Project – Building a Replica of the Historic Sloop of War

  1. LN says:

    “NHS is endeavoring to raise $12.6 million to fund the project”

    Building a replica of the Hornet sounds like an amazing endeavor, but I can’t help but think that in this economy these funds should go to preserving the historic ships we already have, many of which are badly in need of repair. The Olympia in Philadelphia and the Peking and Wavertree in New York easily come to mind.

  2. Rick Spilman says:

    The same thought occurred to me. Another ship comes to mind, as well. The folks working on the construction of the Oliver Hazard Perry are well along with an existing hull. While not a replica, the Perry has obvious ties to the War of 1812 as well.

    On the other hand, if the folks at NHS succeed, they may inspire others to contribute to worthy tall ship projects.

  3. Chris Rhinebeck says:

    There is one thing that seems to be different: these guys are the only ones who talk about sustaining the ship, and it looks like they have some good business and professional sense in the leadership. Too many ships are tied up and rotting now because of bad management, or because they can’t eek out a living doing what they’re doing. They talk alot about changing that across the board, and its nice to see a plan like that taking shape!