Naval cutter Pollox. This model of the Pollox, built by Jürgen Hinrichsen in a scale of 1:50, stands representing the classic naval cutter in our section on the ships of the Age of Sail on deck 2 of the museum.
The Pollox was a naval cutter of the British Royal Navy, built in 1795. Not much is known about the history of this vessel. By the late 18th Century, many navies had adopted cutters as auxiliary vessels for a long list of duties. The Royal Navy, for example had adopted cutters as the smallest unrated vessels in their lists from the 1730s. They were smaller and lighter as the sloops-of-war. Cutters had sleek lines, a narrow hull, and proportionally a very large sail surface. This made them extremely fast and manoeuvrable and the perfect vessels for activities like scouting, patrolling or the swift transport of small numbers of personal or dispatches.
In most cases they were well armed in proportion to their size. While they were of no real use in the firing lines of battle, they were the protagonists of the “cutting out” raids. Those were stealthy attacks conducted mostly in the dark of night by cutters against unsuspecting targets. This type of guerrilla war at sea was quite common during the 18th and in the start of the 19th Century.
Interestingly enough, and while many ship classes disappeared at the end of the Age of Sail, the cutter stayed in use during the 19th Century. In some cases, they even adapted to new types of propulsion and d even served in the 20th Century. The Naval Trawlers that were in use by many navies during World War I and II can be seen as direct descendants of this cutters. The United States Coast Guard used mostly naval-like cutters from 1790 on. Their modern ships still use to wear the prefix USCGC (United States Coast Guard Cutters). This includes the ships called “high endurance cutters” (WHEC) since 1965. This vessels can have a size and capacities comparable to that of a modern destroyer.
This model of the Pollox, built by Jürgen Hinrichsen in a scale of 1:50, stands representing the classic naval cutter in our section on the ships of the Age of Sail on deck 2 of the museum.