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Continental Sloop PROVIDENCE by Chuck Seiler - Scale 1:64 1776

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    FINALLY...my build logs begins.  I welcome those that followed my PHILADELPHIA builds as well as any new comers.


    Welcome to my build log for the Continental Sloop PROVIDENCE.  This ship is famous for being the first naval command of John Paul Jones and the distinction for ALMOST being the first ship in the Continental Navy.






    The idea for this model began with, as most things of value, discussions about pirate ships.  Our ship model club annually mans an information booth at the local County Fair.  One of the questions that always arises is “Is that a Pirate Ship?”  That leads to a discussion about what exactly IS a pirate ship?  Does a Pirate go to “Pirate Ship Depot” and pick one out?  “Nay” sez we.  A buccaneer bateau is normally one they have captured and has attributes that would make it valuable to them; normally speed and agility.  Ships that make good pirate ships also make good merchant ships, privateers and naval vessels. 


    I used the example of the classic Bermuda/Jamaica/Virginia sloop.  Ships with exactly the same lines serving different purposes; Blackbeard’s ADVENTURE, Armed Virginia Sloop merchant and John Paul Jones’ PROVIDENCE. 


    Sometime afterwards, I was doing some research and found this was not EXACTLY true.  While many sloops have almost exactly the same lines and the Model Expo AVS, PROVIDENCE was not one of them.  Close, but not exact.  Using paintings and plans from the replica PROVIDENCE, I saw that for one, the PROV was slightly beamier than the typical AVS.  Also, whereas the aft section of AVS is covered, the PROVIDENCE has an actual poopdeck.  My interest in the Continental Navy lead me to get more info and eventually build this ship.


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    The sloop PROVIDENCE was built as the KATY, for John Brown of Providence.  It may have been built as early as the end of the French and Indian Wars (1763), being used as a privateer.  It is chronicled as making a trip to Suriname in 1769.  It went on a whaling expedition in 1770 and again in 1772.  Heavily timbered, it was built for speed and strength.


    By 1775 Rhode Island was heavily engaged in maritime warfare with the British Navy, and nobody more so than John Brown.  When Rhode Island put together a navy to combat the British Navy's usurpations, the KATY was a prime candidate.  Under the command of Abraham Whipple, the Katy was the first American vessel ship to capture a Royal Navy vessel, the armed sloop Diana in June of 1775.  The Diana was tender to HMS Rose which was cruising near Narragansett Bay.  Abraham Whipple was known for his role in the burning of HMS Gaspee in 1772.   When he learned of the capture of the Diana by Captain Whipple, Captain Sir James Wallace of HMS Rose sent Whipple an angry message:


"You, Abraham Whipple, on the 10th of June, 1772, burned His Majesty’s vessel, the Gaspee, and I will hang you at the yard-arm." –James Wallace


To which, Whipple replied:  To Sir James Wallace, "Sir: Always catch a man before you hang him." –Abraham Whipple.  Whipple was never caught by Wallace and died on the Ohio frontier at the age of 86.


    The KATY was  taken into the fledgling Colonial Navy and renamed Providence.  She was later commanded by John Paul Jones on several successful voyages.   In August 1779, Providence was burned, along with other American vessels, to prevent her falling into the hands of the British towards the end of the disastrous Penobscot Expedition.




    Google or Bing "COLONIAL SLOOP PROVIDENCE" to find out more about this fascinating ship.  Better yet, read the book "Valour Fore and Aft-Being the Adventures of America's First Naval Vessel".

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Hi Chuck, good to see you starting your log build. I got some deck plans that you might not have and would be glad to get a copy out to you.

( I Obtained them from a former skipper of the replica)


Thanks for posting the history of the ship that hasn't gotten much attention from the public and especially kit builders.  Maybe we can get them off their  collective duffs and  come out with one!!  :)



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My plans are a bit different. Only swivel guns on the Poop. Also the across ship bulkhead under the Poop D. shows an angled off set instead of the curved sweep, your plans show.


20th century architects had to deal with collision bulkheads etc. The great cabin layout  has  the furniture is arranged differently.


BTW How does one explain "Poop deck" to non marine types ? ^_^



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    The difference in deck plans interests me.  Looking at the two sets of basic plans, they are the same.  Not surprising; my set is from a book which talks about the replica build and yours are from the captain of the replica.  I would assume the plans are the same plans.  Why, then, are the deck plans diffferent?  Maybe one is "as planned" and one is "as built".


    The four guns on the poop deck/quarterdeck seems to be a bit crowded, but believable.  The plans I have and the paintings I have seen shows only 5 gunports, while it is documented as to having 14 4# guns.  They gotta go somewhere.  I believe I have seen at least 1 painting with them there.


    I'm not too concerned with the internal arrangements except where they concern hatches and gratings.  Keep in mind, the great cabin goes further back than in my plan.  I couldn't scan the whole page and I really didn't care much what it looked like inside.

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By all means, pull up a chair.


Senior Old Salt is building PROVIDENCE as well. It appears he is using the same set of plans (although discussion above indicates there are some differences). I am planking on bulkhead/he is doing a modified bread and butter. Mine will be mostly natural with some paint/his will probably be all painted.

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  • 2 years later...

Dowmer:  I had taken a hiatus from all building due to work related issues.  I am starting up again with Chuck P's Queen Anne Barge (build log to follow soon).  It is a simple project that won't bog me down.  PROVIDENCE is on the back burner, but not forgotten.


Ken:  SOS said he got the plans from the captain of the replica.  They appear to be the same as was featured in the book, since the author worked closely with the builders, except as noted above.  I had attempted to get with the author and publisher to get permission to use the plans, but was unable to do so.

Edited by Chuck Seiler
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