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BARRACOUTA 3 class cruisers (4, 1890-1891)


Barrosa as built


Name No Yard No Builder Laid down Launched Comp Fate
Barrosa     Portsmouth DYd 14.5.1888 16.4.1889 6.1890 sold to BU 7.1905
Barracouta     Sheerness DYd 2.7.1888 16.5.1889 3.1891 sold 4.1905
Blanche   221 Pembroke DYd 1.5.1888 6.9.1889 2.1891 sold to BU 7.1905
Blonde   222 Pembroke DYd 1.5.1888 22.10.1889 7.1891 sold to BU 7.1905

Technical data

Displacement normal, t


Displacement full, t 
Length, m

67.1 pp 71.0 oa

Breadth, m


Draught, m


No of shafts



2 3-cyl VTE, 4 double-ended cylindrical boilers

Power, h. p.

Barrosa, Barracouta: natural draught: 1750, forced draught: 3000

Blanche, Blonde: natural draught: 1900

Max speed, kts

Barrosa, Barracouta: natural draught: 15, forced draught: 16.5

Blanche, Blonde: natural draught: 15

Fuel, t

coal 160

Endurance, nm(kts)


Armour, mmsteel; deck: 51-25, gunshields: 51

6 x 1 - 120/40 QF Mk I/II/III/IV, 4 x 1 - 47/40 3pdr Hotchkiss Mk I, 2 x 1 - 11.4/78, 2 - 356 TT (beam, aw)



Standard scale images

<i>Blonde </i>1897
Blonde 1897


<i>Barrosa </i>as built
Barrosa as built

Project history

The Barracouta class were small cruisers designed for service on distant stations where docking facilities were limited, and all four vessels were sheathed in wood and copper. Although of similar size and general arrangement to the earlier torpedo cruisers they had the advantage of the latest advances in technology and were the first British cruisers to be fitted with TE machinery and a main armament of QF guns. They were also the first British vessels of this size to be given a true protective deck, an essential feature with the introduction of the medium calibre QF gun.  The fitting of this protection in a vessel no larger than the Scout class was made possible mainly by the savings in weight and space resulting from the adoption of TE engines and lighter boilers of higher pressure. The ships had twin funnels fitted side by side which from many angles looked like a single funnel. The machinery was reasonably reliable but the boilers gave some trouble after a few years' service. The 120mm QF guns were arranged in the same manner as the 152mm guns in the Archer class and the 47mm were fitted at the forward and after ends of the upper deck firing through embrassured ports on each side of the bow and quarters. The superstructure arrangement was similar to that of the Archer class but there were lower bulwarks amidships, making the poop and forecastle more obvious, and a lower freeboard generally which gave the appearance of sleeker ships with some similarities to contemporary torpedo gunboats. The ships were steadier than their predecessors but were poor sea boats which were wet in heavy weather particularly amidships. Despite their intended purpose they served mainly in home waters and in the Mediterranean.

Ship protection

Protective deck was similar to that of the Medea class and extended to the full length of the ships, being 25mm on the flat and 51mm on the slope amidships and uniform 25mm at the ends.


1900-1902, Blanche: was reboilered with Laird boilers.

1900-1902, Blonde: was reboilered with Laird boilers, funnels were trunked into the one single funnel.

Naval service

No significant events.

Many thanks to Wolfgang Stöhr for additional information on this page.