Technical Information

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Technical Information for HMS Unicorn

  • 46 gun
  • 5th Rate Frigate
  • Launched 30th March 1824 at Chatham
DesignerSir Robert Seppings
(Surveyor of the Navy 1813-1832)
“Built to the lines of the old LEDA” on No. 4 Slip, H.M. Dockyard, Chatham.
Master ShipwrightGeorge Parkin

Note: LEDA was herself built to the lines of the French frigate HEBE, captured by RAINBOW in 1782.


Main Deck28 x 18 pounder long guns
Forecastle2 x 9 pounder long guns
2 x 32 pounder carronades
Quarterdeck2 x 9 pounder long guns
12 x 32 pounder carronades
Weight of Guns, etc.80 tons 7 cwt
Weight of Gunpowder11 tons 19 cwt
Weight of Shot45 tons 10 cwt

Note:  The exact mix of long guns and carronades would have varied with time, as carronades became increasingly popular.

Hull Dimensions

Length of Gun Deck151 ft 9 3/4 ins
Length between Perps.140 ft 9 ins
Length of Keel for Tonnage127 ft 1 1/2 ins
Breadth extreme40 ft 3 ins
Depth in Hold12 ft 9 ins
Load Draught – forward17 ft 6 ins
                          – aft19 ft 2 ins
Burthen1078 tons
Displacement, fully stored1465 tons 12 quarters
Cost of building the Hull£26,461
Cost of Materials£20,831
Cost of Workmanship£5,630
(Cost of completing the ship for sea in 1824 would have been £39,268)

Masts and Rigging

Height of Main Mast131 ft 3 ins
Diameter of Main Mast28 ins
Length of Main Yard78 ft 9 ins
Total Weight of Masts47 tons 16 quarters
Length of Rope above 3/4 inch circumference 20,728 fathoms (23 1/2 miles)
Total Weight of Rigging31 tons 8 quarters
Area of Sails17,254 square feet
Total Weight of Canvas6 tons 1 quarter(7,307 yards of canvas)

Scheme of Complement

Warrant Officers8
Midshipmen & Mates8
1st Class Petty Officers31
2nd Class Petty Officers19
Other Rates159
Widows’ Men3
Royal Marine Officers2
Other Ranks46
Total War Complement300 men

Note:  These figures vary from source to source, and from time to time, and also according to whether the ship would have been commissioned for war or peace.