The plan to build a ship of the line replicating those of Louis XIV’s navy started in 1982-85, when Christian Cardin discovered six wrecks lying off St. Vaast la Hougue harbour, on the east coast of the Cherbourg peninsula.

These wrecks are remains from Admiral Tourville’s fleet, armed in the spring of 1692 by Louis XIV in the bloody battle to reseat his Catholic Stuart cousin, James II, on the English throne.

Anne Hilarion de Tourville
Battles of Barfleur and La Hougue

Two series of exploratory dives, granted to Christian Cardin in 1987 and 1989 testified to life on board 17th century warships, and demonstrated the architectural problems inherent in the building of the Sun King’s great ships.

In June 1992, on Tatihou Island opposite St. Vaast, a maritime history museum opened, showcasing this underwater archaeological site. Christian Cardin proposed rebuilding one of these great ships and in 1992, set up the Tourville Association whose mission is to build a 17th century first-rate ship of the line.

This is the centerpiece of a craft village dedicated to the history of the navy of Louis XIV.

Giacomo, Bruno and Paolo discovered this reproduction project in Gravelines, soon after their successful landing in France aboard Clodia.

Doryman is impressed by the shear scale of these magnificent vessels!

The treenails (wood plugs shaped like bow-ties) shown in this photo, used to tie the timbers together, are as big as a man’s head!

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