English: Sailing ship Orontes
English: Sailing ship Orontes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The HMS Determination was the first of three experimental sailing corvettes, the class line being named after the lead ship. Determination class corvettes were very similar in shape and form to the Volage class corvettes but had important differences, such as thiner hulls, longer, more streamlined bows and a new variation of the steam-powered engine that gave them an almost unprecedented amount of speed.

It’s dimensions were 280 x 45 x 22 feet (length x beam x draught). It typical cruising speed was 16 knots or 18 miles per hour. For the time, the speed was considered impressive. But only the captain, crew and a few high-ups in the military knew of the Determinations true secret. It’s steam-powered engine could go into what would be called Overpower mode, pushing the ship to at least 20 knots (23 mph).

It was this engine and the desire for faster Overpower modes that ultimately lead to the ships downfall. The leaders of the project kept pushing the captains and engineers to take the ships faster. They were instructed to run the OP mode for as long as possible. To begin with, the directive seemed like a success, with the Determinations once reaching a top speed of almost 23 knots (26 mph).

Wanting to see the results of the new project directives, a high-ranking admiral was on board the Determinations sister ship, the Valiant. The 3rd ship in the class as in dry-dock awaiting repairs from a previous mission. The plan was to have a race around a nearby island and back into port. The winning ship would receive extra rations, time off and glory. The race was on! However soon after reaching top speed, the Determination OP module suffered a critical malfunction and locked the engines. They would not turn the ship. The ship kept on increasing in speed. The Valiant was in the way and tried to turn, but the increasing speed of the Determination had turned it into a massive torpedo. Both ships were destroyed in the impact, killing all crew on board both vessels when both engines exploded in a massive fireball.

The class was soon retired after this incident and the Determination Overpower project scrapped, never to be used again.

Hooks & Rumours

  • The remains of what appears to be a 4th ship in the Determination class has been found by deep seas divers. As of present time, no official records have been found detailing this fourth ship. It’s OP module is curiously missing.
  • It has come to light that the original overpowered modules attached to the engines had been sabotaged. Modern scientists have discovered that if they had not been, the enhanced engine would have been able to work at the higher speeds for much longer and be much safer.
  • Before the fateful crash, experts have calculated that the Determination managed to reach an unheard of speed (for the time) of almost 30 knots (34 mph). Some are calling for the captain and crew to be awarded a posthumous record for the speed they had reached, even though it was not intended
  • The original OP module is being looked at and some historians want to remake it to show how effective it was
  • Descendants of the crew on board both ships are seeking to get an official explanation from the admiralty over the incident.
  • Records have come to life that show that the chief engineer of the Determination warned against using the OP module for ore than a few minutes at a time. The records go on to show e was “retired” two weeks before the accident.
  • Questions are being raised about why a high-ranking admiral was on board the Valiant. Some are suggesting he was planning something with both ships.

Inspired by: Volage class corvette

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