The HORNET is the first boat to be purchased
into the Navy's service. With an overall length of 18' and a beam of just over 5',
she is representative of what was called a small cutter in the 18th century. Her
cotton canvas and wooden spar sail rig are also authentic to the period. With a
single mast, boom and sprit spar, the HORNET can carry over one hundred square feet of
canvas with the jib and main combined. Her
armament consists of a single one-pounder swivel in the bow.
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Built by Charles Hankins and Sons of Lavalette, NJ
sometime in the latter part of the 20th century, the lines of the HORNET can be traced
back to the seventeen-hundreds. In short, the skiff has been employed as a general
work boat throughout our history. Its partially flat-bottomed hull makes for a
sturdy landing craft when beached, while its sharp bow and the rake of its stern allow for
efficient sailing and passage through rough surf even with a heavy payload. She is
fast under oars and faster still under sail.
In October of 2004 the Navy acquired a second
Hankins skiff. Constructed without a sail rig or a rudder, this cedar on oak rowing
version of the HORNET will be restored to new condition by the crew and when finished will
serve as a Jolly Boat and tender.
In recent months the
HORNET was used in two historical films. PBS is set to debut their new series "Slavery And The Making of America" on February 9th & 16th, 2005.
The HORNET was used in Episode 2 of 4, which will air on February 9th from
9-11:00pm. The upcoming PBS four part documentary on the French & Indian War
titled "The War that Made America" will also feature the HORNET and is due out
later this year.
Navy has begun operations to design and build a full-scale guard boat, one of the
twenty-one vessels of this class used on the Delaware from 1776 through 1778. The
name the crew chose for the vessel is the BASILISK, and its design is being adapted from
the flat-bottomed British gunboats of the mid-18th century. The PSN has partnered
with a prominent Philadelphia boatbuilder to construct the BASILISK in 2006, and an
official press release with details on this project is due to be released sometime in