PRINCE DE NEUFCHATEL – BRIEF STORY
Built in New York by Adam and Noah Brown in a typical body plan of the American privateers, she was one of the fastest ships of the United States army in the war of 1812.
In 1814, she was chased 17 times by British men – of – war and she outran them every time. After a triumphant victory against the British navy, she went back to Boston and when she sailed again in December of 1814, fully crewed with 120 men under Nicolas Millin, she was chased through a severe gale by three British frigates. The Neufchatel lost spars in the chase and so was taken. Sir George Collier was so impressed with her sailing speed (13 knots), he sent her to England where she was measured for copying.
Built in 1967 in Holland and fully rebuilt in 2008 in Greek shipyards with high attention to details, this yacht combines the brilliance of her kind with the comforts of a modern yacht.
PRINCE DE NEUFCHATEL – HIGH REFERENCE POINT
The Prince de Neufchatel was a fast sailing United States schooner-rigged privateer, built in New York by Adam and Noah Brown in approximately 1812. She is a fine example of the peak of development of the armed schooner. Neufchatel operated in mainly European waters, damaging British shipping during the War of 1812. In 1813, operating in the English channel, she took nine British prizes in quick succession. She also delivered a crushing defeat to the boats of a British frigate that tried to capture her. The British finally captured her in December 1814; She was broken up in 1815.
Her design is believed to be due to Christian Bergh. She had a hermaphrodite rig, i.e., she combined the rigs of a schooner and a brigantine. “She carried four sails on the foremast, one square sail on the main, and a large fore-and-aft sail with gaff abaft the fore, with large staysails over and three jibs.”
After her capture her design caught the Navy Board’s interest and on 10 April 1815 it ordered Woolwich Dock to build a copy. However, with the end of the War of 1812 and the Napoleonic Wars, the copy was never built.
On 11 October 1814, under Captain John Ordronaux, she engaged in one of the most violent privateer clashes of the war. Becalmed on the south side of Nantucket, she became vulnerable. Captain Henry Hope of the HMS Endymion thereupon sent 111 men in five boats to cut out the privateersman defended by 40 Americans. After 20 minutes of savage fighting, the Englishmen surrendered. British casualties amounted to 28 killed, 37 wounded, and 28 taken prisoner. The Americans reported 7 killed and 24 wounded. Ordronaux put most of the wounded and prisoners off at Nantucket, and made the best of his way to Boston.
On 28 December 1814, in the Atlantic, the three British frigates, Acasta, Leander, and Newcastle sighted her and began to pursue. Under the strain of the large sail area her masts sprung. Not being able to outrun the British frigates, Prince de Neufchatelsurrendered. John Ordronaux was apparently not her captain at the time; her commander was Nicholas Millin. At the time of her capture, Prince de Neufchatel was armed with 18 guns and had a crew of 129 men.
The British took Prince de Neufchatel back to England. There, however, she was damaged beyond repair on the back of the sill of a dock gate as she was being undocked. As a result she was never commissioned into the Royal Navy. She was broken up in 1815.