Skip to content

HMS Victory Found – No, Not That One

HMS Victory ‘5’ was the ‘Titanic of warships’ in her day.

© John Batchelor / Odyssey Marine Exploration

When we saw on the evening news that HMS Victory had been found, our first thought was “How could you lose a 185-ft LOD, square-rigged warship, especially one that’s in drydock?”

But of course the joke was on us. The HMS Victory recently discovered in 330 feet of water in the English Channel is a predecessor to the famous one drydocked in Plymouth, England — the one on which Admiral Nelson fought and died at Trafalgar. HMS Victory ‘#5’ was actually found last May by the American salvage company Odyssey Marine Exploration, headquartered in Tampa. The official announcement of the find was made only last week. Nelson’s Victory, launched in 1765 and currently open to the public, is the world’s oldest commissioned ship. Victory 5 had a much shorter lifespan. Launched three decades earlier in 1737, she was similar in size and armament: 175 feet long, with a beam of 50 feet and carrying more than 100 guns on three gun decks. Although that last feature classified her as a ‘first rater’ and made her the equivalent of a battleship of her day, it also made her top-heavy and unwieldy in a seaway. During her short seven-year lifespan, Victory 5 performed mostly show-of-strength duty. She was lost, along with all 1,000 hands, in a storm on the way home from Mediterranean convoy duty in 1744.

King George I’s crest is still clearly visible on one of Victory 5’s recovered cannons.

© Odyssey Marine Exploration

The quest for the HMS Victory ‘5’ — likened by some to the "Titanic of warships" — was more than archeological. At the time of her sinking, she was reported to be carrying more than four tons of gold coins home to Dutch investors. The present value of those would be about $500 million. Only a few cannons and other artifacts have so far been removed from the wreck. Odyssey is in negotiations with the British government on further excavation.

Leave a Comment

This is what it would look like if a 10-ft Tiger shark, which had its dentures removed, was going after your arm.
Former Bay Area resident and professional yacht chef Sara Kuszak was raped and murdered in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday during her morning run.
Auckland and dueling IACC boats . . . pretty sweet combination. © 2009 Paul Todd If you haven’t been following the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series in Auckland, you’re missing some great match racing action and great viewing opportunities via the very sharp and easy-to-navigate website.