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The HORNET is the first boat to be brought 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 redmill2a.jpg (28381 bytes)cotton canvas and wooden spar sail rig are also authentic to the period.  With a single mast and sprit spar, the HORNET can carry over one hundred and twenty square feet of canvas with the jib and main combined.  Her armament consists of a single one-pounder swivel cannon in the bow and a pair of boarding axes.

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 basilisk3.jpg (11823 bytes)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.

The Navy has also moved forward with its plans 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 working barge of the mid-18th century.  The PSN has partnered with the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, a prominent Philadelphia boatbuilder to construct the BASILISK in 2006/2007.  Details on the BASILISK project can be found HERE.

In the spring of 2006 the Navy plans to begin using a new ship's boat.  Similar to the HORNET, the WASP is 18' long and is constructed of cedar on oak.  Restoration began in January of wasp.pwbf.2.jpg (45478 bytes)2006 at the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory where students of the school's advanced boatbuilding class are working on the boat as part of their ongoing course curriculum.  So far the boat's transom, stem and two of the portside planks have been removed and are in the process of being replaced.

Last year the Pennsylvania State Navy supplied the Virginia State Navy with it's first boat - a 16' Hankins Skiff, this one a rowing version of the HORNET.   Built by Charles Hankins in 1972, this boat saw service on the Jersey shore for almost thirty years before it was acquired by the PSN in October of 2004.  The VSN began restoration to the boat in 2005, and when finished will represent a typical 18th century ship's boat.

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In recent months the HORNET was used in two historical films.  PBS debuted their new series "Slavery And The Making of America" on February 9th & 16th, 2005.   The HORNET was used in Episode 2 of 4, which aired 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 in January of 2006.

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