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'L'Éclair' French 18-gun barque latine 1771 (With Plans)

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L'Éclair was an 18- / 22-gun French barque latine built in Toulon and taken by HMS Leda in the Mediterranean, becoming the ship-sloop HMS Eclair.  Plans below were taken prior to her being hulked in 1797.  If anyone has an illustration of what her barque latine rig might have looked like, please post.



with poop deck



without poop deck





98' x 27' x 12'

230 tons


Crew: 166



QD: 6x 12pdr carronades (in British service)

Upper deck: 18x 6pdr gun


A half-model of a similar barque latine from Toulon, L’Hirondelle (1743?), can be found in the musee nationale de la Marine, Paris:



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Given the terminology of a barque being a three or more masted vessel with a fore and main mast that is ship rigged and a mizzen that is fore and aft coupled with the 'latine' which is a triangular sail reference as lateen rigged in English I would imagine it to be squared rigged on the fore and main and a large lateen sail on the mizzen. 


Failing to find any image of any decent quality one can visual this by looking at the Renomee and removing the square sails from the mizzen over the lateen and the ship either having a shorter mizzen, a larger more heavily raked lateen or possibly even a top lateen like older carracks. 


The advantages of such a rig is it would take less crew to manage then a gaff and square sails. Though the disadvantage would be that a lateen rig always has a direction where the wind pushes the sail into the mast causing interference and poor efficiency. The Bella Poule model in game still has the lateen yard but rigged with a lugger sail which wouldn't have such interference.

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Belle Poule doesn't have a lugsail mizzen. It's a lateen yard, which has (essentially) a loose-footed gaff on it.

The term barque is highly ambiguous in the 1700s, and for non-English speaking countries that goes double.


This is true, I'd forgotten that a lug sail is like a lateen in that the yard and sail is unevenly bisected by the mast but is four cornered instead of three. Barque definitely is not an exceptionaly well defined before the 1800s. I believe at one point in 1700s in Great Britain it simply referred to a particular hull lines and length to beam ratio. Still given the mast positions and angles I still believe this ship was fore and main square sail rigged and the latine references a completely lateen rigged mizzen like most fluyts were.

Edited by Cragger
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 Barque definitely is not an exceptionaly well defined before the 1800s.


Yeah - it may be well defined today, but it used to just refer to a three-masted vessel that wasn't fully ship-rigged. A recurring definition referred to a ship that carried only one sail on the mizzen, but it was largely a broad category.

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  • 2 weeks later...


Present-day ships, one a replica of an 1828 ship, one a replica of an 1896 ship, and two-masted, but dubbed as barques latines in the source and the style is described as going back to the 16th century., One pic contrasts the barques latines with a gaff-sail rig dubbed as a galere/ sail galley. Single lateen sail on each mast, single jib headsail, and these two-masted ones have the mainmast near the centre of the vessel and the foremast very far forward but still short of the bow - Vernon Merrill's three-master looks the goods, though the second headsail is different.

Edited by Idle Champion
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I have I think come across a possibility. I was doing some unrelated reading and came across the French 'Grande Tartane' 




And it got me to thinking. A barquentine is a three masted vessel with the foremast ship rigged and the main and mizzen fore and aft, usually gaff rigged.




What if the barque latine (barquelatine) was like a later barquentine but the main and mizzen where rigged like the Tartane with lateen instead of gaff rigged. Lateen (Latine) rigging was very popular for  French mediterranean vessels it seems.

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  • 4 months later...

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