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AMETHYST wooden screw corvettes (1873-1875)


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Encounter     Sheerness DYd 19.6.1871 1.1.1873 7.1873 sold 10.1888
Amethyst     Devonport DYd 28.7.1871 19.4.1873 7.1873 sold 11.1887
Modeste     Devonport DYd 27.11.1871 23.5.1873 1.1874 sold 1.1888
Diamond     Sheerness DYd 1873 26.8.1874 7.1875 sold 8.1889
Sapphire     Devonport DYd 17.6.1873 24.9.1874 8.1875 sold 9.1892

Technical data

Displacement normal, t1934
Displacement full, t 
Length, m

67.1 pp

Breadth, m


Draught, m

5.48 hold depth

No of shafts

1 hoisting


sails + 1 2-cyl HC, 6 cylindrical boilers

Power, h. p.

Encounter: 2031

Amethyst: 2144

Modeste: 2068

Diamond: 2140

Sapphire: 2364

Max speed, kts

Encounter: 13

Amethyst: 13.2

Modeste: 12.5

Diamond: 12.6

Sapphire: 13.6

Fuel, t

coal 270

Endurance, nm(kts)2060(10) - 2500(10)

Encounter, Modeste: 14 x 1 - 160/16 64pdr 71cwt MLR Mk III

Amethyst, Diamond, Sapphire: 12 x 1 - 160/16 64pdr 71cwt MLR, 2 x 1 - 64pdr 64cwt MLR



Standard scale images

<i>Diamond </i>1875
Diamond 1875

Project history

Designed by Nathaniel Barnaby who reintroduced the knee-bow and square frigate type of stern. The first three were similar to Briton, having heavy, rounded sterns, the last pair having the outward sloping frigate-type stern. They were the first complete class of their size to be fitted with compound engines. All were ship-rigged with 1700m² sail area, except Encounter which was barque-rigged. They were excellent seaboats, being the only class of small cruisers able to sail or steam at just over 13kts. In hull form, their lines were rather full towards the extremities, but they did not have the bulbous ram bow. They were deeply embrasured, the use of embrasures aft overcoming the difficulty of combining the hoisting screw with stern fire. They had neither quarter galleries nor bilge keels, nor watertight bulkheads. All except Encounter had a heavy knee added to their stems. Sapphire was the last wooden cruiser built for the Royal Navy, and Diamond was the last wooden hull to be built at Sheerness Dockyard.


1880s, Amethyst, Diamond, Sapphire: all were re-rigged as barques; - 12 x 1 - 160/16 64pdr 71cwt MLR; + 10 x 1 - 160/16 64pdr 64cwt MLR

Naval service

No significant events.