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HMS Surprise (replica ship)

HMS Surprise
HMS Surprise at the Maritime Museum of San Diego
Name: HMS Rose
Owner: HMS Rose Foundation
Builder: Smith and Rhuland Shipyard, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Launched: 1970
Homeport: Black Rock Harbor Bridgeport, Connecticut
Fate: Sold to 20th Century Fox 2001
Name: HMS Surprise
Homeport: San Diego, California
Fate: Sold to Maritime Museum of San Diego in 2007
Status: in active service, as of 2016
Notes: Official Number: 928811
General characteristics
Displacement: 500 long tons (508 t)
  • 179 ft 6 in (54.71 m) sparred length
  • 135 ft 6 in (41.30 m) on deck
  • 114 ft 6 in (34.90 m) w/l
Beam: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Height: of Rig 130 ft (40 m)
Draft: 13 ft (4.0 m)
Sail plan: Full rigged ship, sail area 13,000 sq ft (1,200 m2)

HMS Surprise is a modern tall ship, built at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada as Rose in 1970 to a Phil Bolger design based on the original 18th-century British Admiralty drawings. She is based on HMS Rose, a 20 gun sixth-rate frigate built in 1757.

Rose was built at the Smith and Rhuland shipyard in Lunenburg, a yard which had established a reputation for large and successful replicas such as HMS Bounty in 1960 and Bluenose II in 1963.

The ship was inspected and certified by the United States Coast Guard. She spent the first ten years of her life in Newport, Rhode Island sailing in Newport Harbor and as a dockside attraction. In 1985, already in serious disrepair, she was purchased by Kaye Williams and brought to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and operated as a sail training vessel in the 1980s and 1990s, run by the HMS Rose Foundation based in Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States. Although she is known by the national prefix HMS, meaning Her (or His) Majesty's Ship, she is not technically entitled to it as she does not hold a royal warrant.

She was sold to the 20th Century Fox film studio in 2001 to be used in the making of the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, in which she portrayed the Royal Navy frigate Surprise with a story based on several of the books by Patrick O'Brian. After the film was complete, the ship was leased and then purchased by the Maritime Museum of San Diego which has restored her to sailing condition as of September 2007.[1] The ship has officially been re-registered as HMS Surprise in honor of her role in the film. She sails several times a year, often with the museum's other tall ships, the schooner Californian and the 1863 barque Star of India.[2] In 2010, she portrayed HMS Providence in the Disney adventure film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.[3]

In 1991, The Connecticut General Assembly passed "An Act Concerning the H.M.S. Rose" in which the ship was commissioned as a vessel of the Connecticut Naval Militia. The act stated that the H.M.S. Rose Foundation was responsible for maintaining the ship, but when the ship was sold to 20th Century Fox, the statute was not repealed and is still in effect.[4]


  1. ^ "Reviving Surprise"(pdf) David L. Kolthoff, P.E.
  2. ^ SurpriseSDMM article on
  3. ^
  4. ^ CGS 27-5 - Public Act 91-31

External links

  • SurpriseMaritime Museum of San Diego page on the
  • RoseTall ship

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