Steel, Chapman & Hutchinson Ltd.
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Cruiser Class Brig HMS Surprise American Schooner


Cruiser Class 18 gun Brig

Sir William Rule supervised the design of this hull in 1797 as the brig Cruiser, armed with sixteen 32 lb carronades and two 6 lb guns. The design was very successful, and was made the standard for 18 gun brigs for nearly 20 years. More than one hundred of these ships were built. They were fast sailers and very seaworthy. The Dutch 18 gun brigs Zwaluw, Mercuur and Kemphaan are very similar in design, in one instance recorded as being built to these lines, but without the square tuck stern. The Russian brig Olymp was also of the same mold. The design was later modified (the square tuck again being removed) to produce the 1812 class of 16 gun brigs, of which the Epervier (taken by the US in 1812) was one. 

We chose this ship for her simpler brig- as opposed to ship-rig, her excellent documentation in the book Modelling the Brig-of-War Irene by EW Petrejus ( a few copies in English still available!), and her suitable size. 

Our ship is armed with your choice of 6 lb guns and/or 32 lb carronades, has seven sails, the jib, forecourse, foretopsail, foretopgallant, main topsail, main topgallant and driver mainsail. The latter sail is supplied as a single-reefed version as well. The minimum sail she can carry is a reefed driver and full foresail. She has the standard servo configuration.

A remarkably nimble sailer, she has tacked in winds gusting to 21 knots.

Length on deck is 50" (1.27m)

Hull weight is 31 lbs (14.1 kgs), Sailing weight is 72 lbs (32.7 kgs)

Ballast keel weight is 41 lbs (18.6 kgs)

Ready for sailing she is (extreme) 85" long, 72" high and 29" wide (2.2m x 1.8m x .74m).

The complete kit (and it is complete!): hull, decks, hull fittings, masts, standing rigging, sails, deck fittings, running rigging and fittings, servos and fittings, ballast keel and launching cart. Everything you need to build and sail except the 4-channel transmitter and receiver.

No longer available as kits. We do have one highly detailed completely built prototype. The price for this is $7000 plus shipping.

Cruiser Class brig
Grasshopper sailing
Cruiser Class brig
Grasshopper sailing large
From the deck

Click here for the story of the real Grasshopper

These brigs in fiction
Hornblower fans, you may recognise the two sister brigs, Porta Coeli and Flame from the book "Lord Hornblower" as Cruiser Class brigs. These brigs were so ubiquitous in the British Navy of the Napoleonic era, that they are scattered throughout all the novels of the period. 

  • We would like to thank and acknowledge E.W. Petrejus, for all the information we got from his book Modelling the Brig of War "Irene" sometimes available in English version from: Navigare, Kattenburgerplein 1, 1018 KK Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (Tel +(0) 20-6232059). We have two english versions available for $300 plus shipping.
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side view
half breadth
body plan
Grasshopper Sail Plan
Grasshopper Half Breadth Grasshopper Body Plan