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The gunboat H.M.S. Vixen displaced 1,230 tons and was built by Lungley Shipyard, Deptford, England, in 1864, and launched in1867. According to Professor Richard Gould of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, the Vixen was the first twin-screwed vessel of the Royal Navy. Vixen's iron hull was completely clad in teak wood. This design was made in an effort to overcome problems that iron hulled ships were having with marine organisms. The teak also produced extra drag on the ship, therefore, resulting in the Vixen being the slowest ironclad vessel in the Royal Navy. Another very interesting aspect of this ship is that she was built with a ram type bow. Her heavily supported bow protruded forward almost nine feet under the water line. Unfortunately, after sea trials, the Vixen and her sister ship, Viper, were considered too slow as well as un-seaworthy. They were withdrawn from service in 1887 and towed to Bermuda in 1888 as coast defense ships. By1895, Vixen had been allocated as a floating dormitory to house Dockyard laborers. In 1896,after removal of her engines and machinery, she was scuttled to block a narrow channel off Daniel's Head. This scuttling was done to prevent possible attacks by torpedo boats on Dockyard.
In 1986, Professor Richard Gould, along with Earth watch and the Bermuda Maritime Museum, began a three year project that researched the vessel and produced fine underwater sketches of the site. In 1987, probably due to publicity from Professor Gould's activity, an official Vixen postage stamp was issued, and the site was classified as a protected wreck. This means that nothing can be removed from the wreck, and a permit is needed to explore the Vixen while on SCUBA although no permit is needed to snorkel the site.
Today, the Vixen is a popular site for glass bottom boats. Her bow protrudes above the water line, and her hull is almost completely intact.