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“Lost off Lewes: The British warship DeBraak”

Written on: April 11th, 2017 in Events Museums News

-Tours explore the surviving hull section of this 18th-century shipwreck-

Beginning on June 7, 2017, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs will offer tours that explore the 18th-century history, artifacts and surviving hull section of His Majesty’s Sloop DeBraak, a British warship that was escorting and protecting a convoy of merchant ships en route to the United States when it was capsized and lost off the Delaware coast on May 25, 1798. Tours will take place at 9 a.m. on the following Wednesdays during 2017: June 7, 14, 21 and 28; July 5, 12, 19 and 26; Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; and Sept. 6, 13, 20 and 27.

DeBraak Lost off Lewes newspaper

 

Tours begin at the Zwaanendael Museum, located at 102 Kings Highway in Lewes, Del., where a lecture on the ship will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World.” Participants will learn about the history, crew and sinking of the DeBraak through a guided presentation and display of actual artifacts. Attendees will then be transported, via van, to the DeBraak conservation facility for interpretation and viewing of the ship’s surviving hull section. Each tour lasts approximately two hours.

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull which can be seen in the left of the photo.

Visitors enjoying a tour of the DeBraak hull which can be seen in the left of the photo.

Tickets are available at the Zwaanendael Museum. Tours are restricted to individuals age 10 and up with space limited to 12 participants per tour. Walk-ups are welcome but space is not guaranteed. Admission is $10 per person (cash or check only). For reservations, e-mail hca_zmevents@state.de.us or call 302-645-1148.

DeBraak tour participants listening to a presentation at the Zwaanendael Museum. The exhibit “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World” is in the background.

DeBraak tour participants listening to a presentation at the Zwaanendael Museum. The exhibit “A Seaborne Citizenry: The DeBraak and Its Atlantic World” is in the background.

Significance of DeBraak … 
During the late-18th and early-19th centuries, sloops of war such as DeBraak played an increasingly important role in Royal Navy campaigns. These relatively small vessels combined speed, agility, shallow draft and increased firepower, all of which made them formidable naval vessels. As the only Royal Navy sloop of war from this time period that has been recovered anywhere in the world, DeBraak serves as an invaluable historical resource for a time when Great Britain was the world’s preeminent naval power.

The surviving section of the DeBraak’s hull and its associated artifact collection have been curated by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs since they were acquired by the State of Delaware in 1992. Approximately one-third of the hull survives including the keel, keelson and lower framing elements, including a large section of the starboard (right) side.

Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990.

Artistic rendition of the capsizing of the DeBraak by Peggy Kane, 1990.

 


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