HMS Sophie

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HMS Sophie, a small brig-rigged Royal Navy sloop, was Jack Aubrey’s first real command when he took charge of her at Port Mahon in April of 1800. Listed at only 208 tons, the Sophie carried fourteen 4-pounder cannons. The Sophie, as described in Master and Commander is closely based on the genuine HMS Speedy, commanded by Thomas Lord Cochrane, precisely matching her dimensions and her operational history, including her capture by a French squadron under Admiral Charles Linois in 1801. The Sophie’s most spectacular victory, the defeat and capture of the Spanish xebec-frigate Cacafuego duplicates the historical Speedy’s capture of the Spanish Gamo.

Somewhat inexplicably, in Patrick O'Brian’s novel it is stated that the Sophie was formerly the Spanish brig Vencejo. As it happens, the genuine Vencejo (also Vincejo) was taken into the Royal Navy under her original name and under Commander John Wright was engaged in various intelligence-related duties.

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