HMS Bold (1812)

HMS Bold was a 14-gun Bold-class gun-brig built by Tyson & Blake at Bursledon. She was launched in 1812 and wrecked off Prince Edward's Island on 27 September 1813.

United Kingdom
Name: HMS Bold
Ordered: 16 November 1811
Builder: Tyson & Blake, Bursledon
Launched: 26 June 1812
Commissioned: July 1812
Fate: Wrecked on 27 September 1813
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Bold-class gun-brig
Tons burthen: 1823594 (bm)
  • 84 ft 4 in (25.7 m) (overall)
  • 70 ft 0 12 in (21.3 m) (keel)
Beam: 22 ft 1 12 in (6.7 m)
Depth of hold: 11 ft 1 in (3.4 m)
Sail plan: Brig
Complement: 60
Armament: 10 × 18-pounder carronades + 2 × 6-pounder bow chasers

Design and construction

The Bold class were a revival of Sir William Rule's Confounder-class gun-brig design of 1804. They were armed with ten 18-pounder carronades and two 6-pounder bow chasers. Built at Bursledon by Tyson & Blake, Bold was launched on 26 June 1812 and commissioned in July 1812 under Commander John Skekel, who sailed for North America in her on 17 April 1813.[1]


On 18 or 26 May 1813 (records differ), while in the company of the Halifax privateer Sir John Sherbrooke, the two vessels recaptured Duck, which the American privateer General Plummer had taken shortly before.[2] Duck had been traveling from Waterford to Newfoundland.[3]


On the morning of 27 September 1813, Bold grounded on the north end of Prince Edward's Island between 3 and 4am. Some accounts emphasize that this occurred during a strong NE gale.[4] However the court martial account does not mention this.[5] Despite efforts to lighten her, Bold remained stuck and ultimately had to be abandoned. In the morning it was clear that she was a cable-length (i.e., a little more than an eight of a mile) from shore. The crew established a line to the shore through the surf and this enabled a boat to go back and forth between vessel and shore. The result was that her entire crew of 67 officers and men were saved.[5]

A small party went overland to Charlottetown to seek help while the remainder of the crew attempted to salvage what it could. Lieutenant Governor C. D. Smith sent the transport Agnes, which had recently arrived at Charlestown, with ordnance stores for the garrison, to assist Bold and recover stores.[6][Note 1] Agnes took Bold's crew to Halifax.[7]

The subsequent court martial reprimanded Skekel and the master for having neglected to instruct the watch to take frequent depth soundings. It also fined the local pilot for not having warned Skekel about the currents in the area.[5] John Skekel went on to another command and in time became an admiral.

Notes, citations, and references


  1. The Naval Chronicle gives the name of Bold's captain as Sackwell, but this is incorrect.


  1. Winfield (2008), p. 365.
  2. Parkinson & Fayle (2006), p. 246.
  3. "No. 16837". The London Gazette. 1 January 1814. p. 20.
  4. Marshall (1831), Vol. 3, Part 1, pp.223-5.
  5. Hepper (1994), p. 148.
  6. Naval Chronicle, Vol. 30, p.430.
  7. Alexandria Gazette. Commercial and Political (Alexandria, Virginia), 9 November 1813, p.3.


  • Hepper, David J. (1994) British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650-1859. (Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot). ISBN 0-948864-30-3
  • Parkinson, C. Northcote, & Charles Ernest Fayle, eds. (2006). The Trade Winds: A Study of British Overseas Trade During the French Wars .... (London: Taylor & Francis)
  • Snider, C.H.J. (1928) Under the Red Jack; Privateers of the Maritime Provinces of Canada in the War of 1812. (London: Martin Hopkinson & Co.).
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 17931817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1.
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