My ship Catalogue

Classic Ship Models 22


A Replica of the Baltimore Clipper


The "Swift"

An Early 19th Century Pilot Boat

This design of vessel, built around the turn of the 18th/19th century, preceded the introduction of the revenue cutter as seen in this document as the "Roger B Taney".The hull design, although smaller in dimensions, had similar lines and technical aspects.  These were the foundation of the the famous Baltimore Clippers that eventually defined the US Navy as a major maritime power. The pilot boats fulfilled the role of ferrying pilots to and from naval and commercial vessels arriving and departing Virginian ports. Being relatively fast and highly manoeuvrable for their time, they performed their tasks efficiently in all weathers.

The Baltimore Clippers have been described in other sections of this document.  They were originally gaff rigged schooners with many introduced with a squaresail on the foremast to give them additional driving power. Being able to sail close to the wind, they were far more manoeuvrable than the fully rigged ships of the British Royal Navy.


Another reference found during research

They were used extensively as privateers and in trades where "deviltry and speed sailed together" - smuggling, running slaves and opium.  Developed in Chesapeake Bay before the revolution, these lean topsail schooners 'clipped along' at 12 knots or more. The raked masts lent a 'swift' look but added no speed. The schooners were armed and raided British shipping during the war of 1812. The type faded by 1850 but their sharp lines lived on in the clipper ship.    ref:   "Men, ships and the sea, Capt A Villiers, National Geographic Society, 1973"


Photograph of the model


The "Swift"

Early 19th Century Pilot Boat

This model is produced by Artesania Latina of Spain and is described as being for an intermediate level modeller but, to my mind, is very suitable for a beginner.  My younger grandson tried and was very successful at building it.  The kit was purchased for him to 'try his hand at his grandfather's hobby' when he was about 14/15 - 2005/6. 

He did a good and patient job on the hull but when the initial enthusiasm was overtaken by his leanings toward more high tech amusements, it was left to me to complete the challenge on his behalf.  It now resides in its rightful place - on his desk!

As is always the case with kits from this maker, the instructions are clear and precise, supplemented with useful photographs. The model is plank on bulkhead, the component parts fit well and the end result quite satisfying. As you can see, sails were also fitted.