Association TOURVILLE

The project's genesis

The idea of constructing a ship-of-the-line, typical of Louis XIV's great fleet, takes its roots in the years 1982-1985, when Christian Cardin declares to the Maritime Authorities of Cherbourg the discovery of six shipwrecks, lying along Saint Vaast La Hougue's port, near the East Coast of the Cotentin. The wrecks were those of part of the fleet commanded by Admiral Tourville which had been fitted out in the spring of 1692 by Louis XIV in order to put his Catholic cousin, James II, back on the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Épaves de La Hougue

La Hogue shipwrecks

Christian Cardin developed the idea of constructing one of the great XVIIth-century vessels which were the pride of the French navy and creates in 1992, Tourville Association which aims at building a first-rate vessel of the time of Louis XIV.
The construction would become the main attraction in a village showing traditional crafts. The village itself will be gradually integrated into a historical theme park devoted to Louis XIV's navy.

Colbert's album

L’Album de Colbert
Discovery of a bronze cannon on a shipwreck in La Hogue
To construct a ship-of-the-line of the XVIIth -century French fleet, we have at our disposal very few written documents. Indeed, what characterised naval construction in the XVIIth century was that shipbuilding was passed on orally from skilled artisans to apprentices. There is however a previously unpublished document of the XVIIth century ordered by Colbert in 1670 consisting in 50 drawings showing all the stages in the construction of a XVIIth-century first-rate vessel, armed with 84 cannons.
Élaboration des plans du Jean-Bart
Setting of the midships parts of the vessel

Elaborating the Jean-Bart’s plans

The work of reconstituting the plans and blueprints of such a ship was carried out by Philippe Thomé (naval architect) assisted by Michel Daeffler ( historian) from a compilation of Colbert's album and architectural data coming from two of the shipwrecks found in La Hogue which were identical to those described by Colbert. The whole allowed us to draw architecturally useable plans for 21st century shipwrights.
3D drawing realised by Virtualia
© P. Tomé & M. Daeffler

An emblematic name for the ship

In order to legitimize the implantation of the construction site, it turned out necessary to give the ship an emblematic name honouring a great privateer of Louis XIV's navy. The members of the association have quite naturally chosen Jean Bart's, privateer and navy officer who was eventually ennobled by the King and appeared in the high authorities of the royal navy as Commander of the Northern Sea Squadron in Dunkirk.