The France II was launched at Bordeaux in 1911 for the New Caledonia nickel ore trade to Europe. Although not the last commercial square-rigged sailing vessel to be built, the France represents the apogee of merchant sail and her great size and powerful performance can be seen as a culmination of technological developments from the second half of the 19th century which gave such impetus to the evolution of the square-rigger over that time. France II measured 5,633 tons gross on a length of 419 feet. Her beam was 56 feet and her depth 25 feet.
Armed with two canons, France II surmounted all odds during World War I by regularly skirting the three symbolic Capes: Cape Horn, the Cape of Good Hope, and Cape Leeuwin.
On a calm sea on July 11 1922, the great ship ran aground at the Ouano reefs in New Caledonia. She would remain a familiar silhouette for the next 20 years to those passionate about the sea. In 1944 American bombers destroyed the wreck signaling the death of the greatest tall ship ever built. (164196-3)
The first large three-decker, the Royal Louis was completed in Toulon in 1668, and was registered at 200 tons. The Royal Louis was a 3-deck vessel with 120 guns. Her captain was a Squadron Admiral. She was one of the most powerful firsrank vessels belonging to the French Royal Navy at that time. Our ship model represents the Royal Louis according to the plans of 1779, when she was Admiral-Ship of the Blue and White Squadron, being part of the American Squadron, also called Eark d’Estaing’s.