The Fourth Duke of Portland’s Pantaloon (1831–1852): Private yacht, experimental ‘brig sloop of war’ and slave-ship hunter

By Eric J. Graham, published August 2021


The launch of the 323-ton private brig rigged yacht Pantaloon at Troon in 1831 for the Duke of Portland, marks the opening of the final and contentious ‘Symonds’ era in British wooden hull naval architecture. Designed for the duke by Captain William Symonds RN it was immediately acquired by the Royal Navy as a fast armed ocean-going dispatch boat. After Symond’s controversial appointment as Surveyor of the Navy the following year, it was regularly pitted in sea rating trials against old and new designs, culminating in its inclusion in the gruelling 1844-46 Experimental Squadron trials. Either side of this engagement it served in the dangerous Preventative Service cruising the West Coast of Africa to intercept fast slavers trading to Cuba and Brazil. After serving with Pantaloon was decommissioned in 1852.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C)
Subjects include: Shipbuilding & Design

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