The HORNET is the first boat to be brought into the Navy's service. With an overall length of 18' and a beam of just over 5', she is representative of what was called a small cutter in the 18th century. Her cotton canvas and wooden spar sail rig are also authentic to the period. With a single mast and sprit spar, the HORNET can carry over one hundred and twenty square feet of canvas with the jib and main combined. Her armament consists of a single one-pounder swivel cannon in the bow and a pair of boarding axes.
Built by Charles Hankins and Sons of Lavalette, NJ sometime in the latter part of the 20th century, the lines of the HORNET can be traced back to the seventeen-hundreds. In short, the skiff has been employed as a general work boat throughout our history. Its partially flat-bottomed hull makes for a sturdy landing craft when beached, while its sharp bow and the rake of its stern allow for efficient sailing and passage through rough surf even with a heavy payload. She is fast under oars and faster still under sail.
Last year the Pennsylvania State Navy supplied the Virginia State Navy with it's first boat - a 16' Hankins Skiff, this one a rowing version of the HORNET. Built by Charles Hankins in 1972, this boat saw service on the Jersey shore for almost thirty years before it was acquired by the PSN in October of 2004. The VSN began restoration to the boat in 2005, and when finished will represent a typical 18th century ship's boat.