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.