Built in 1747, Limehouse.
Later a 44-gun.
Sold in 1802.
- 1749 Captain G. B. RODNEY, Newfoundland.
Paid off in Woolwich at the end of 1752.
- 1759 Capt. Christopher BASSETT, Mediterranean.
Present at the Battle of Lagos Bay when Boscawen took or destroyed most of the French fleet.
Returned to England to pay off.
Succeeded by Capt. Richard GWYNNE, Mediterranean.
July 1762 converted to 44 gun ship.
Capt. Mark ROBINSON, Channel.
- 1763 Capt. Walter STIRLING,North American station.
Returned in 1776, laid up in Chatham.
- 1770 Capt. Hon. Charles FIELDING.
- 1772 Capt. Thomas COLLINGWOOD, West Africa Jamaica.
- 1774 laid up in England.
- 1776 Sir George COLLIER, senior officer at Halifax.
On 8 July 1777 RAINBOW gave chase to the American frigates HANCOCK and BOSTON, with their British prize FOX, as they passed Halifax on their way to Boston. Capt. BRISBANE in FLORA joined in the chase on the second day and, after a pursuit of 41 hours and a running fight of more than 4 hours, HANCOCK was captured by RAINOOW and OOX by FLORA.
BOSTON managed to escape.
Sir George moved his commodore's flag to RAISONABLE (64), but returned to RAINBOW in May 1779 for an attack on an American dockyard and shipping up the Elizabeth River.
- RAINBOW went into Ordinary but was brought back the the active list to experiment with carronades. These were fitted at Plymouth, 68-pounders on the lower deck, 42-pounders on the main and 38-pounders on the quarter deck. 44 in all.
Under Capt. Henry TROLLOPE she set out on a Channel cruise. She sailed from Plymouth on 2 September 1782 and off the Ile de Bas she encountered the French frigate HEBE (40), which surrendered after firing a token broadside, assuming from the weight of shot, that RAINBOW was a disguised ship of the line. RAINBOW lost only one man but the French lost five killed, including the second captain, and several wounded out of a crew of 360 men.
Capt. TROLLOPE continued in RAINBOW until the peace.
- RAINBOW was used as a hulk receiving ship at Woolwich for 20 years after being put out of commission in 1783.
- 1784 harbour service.
- She was sold in 1802.