The History of a Tall Ship


It is the year 1911, on the construction sites of the Gironde, in Bordeaux.

The five-masted tall ship, FRANCE, was just recently commissioned by Prentout Armaments.

150 m long, 17 m wide, 6,350 m of sails, and 2-900 hp Schneider engines, this technological gamble is at the cutting edge of innovation in naval conception and construction.

"FRANCE" has become
the greatest tall ship in the world.

Since 1913, she was assigned to the transport of Caledonian nickel, a new strategic angle that becomes an integral part in certain alliances and in the fabrication of plates.

Mr. Prentout decides to simultaneously associate this activity with the public's new-found passion for ocean cruises by furnishing the ship with a grand piano, a library, a dark room and, for the first time in the world, sea water therapy equipment. Armed with two canons, FRANCE surmounted all odds during World War I by regularly skirting the three symbolic Capes: Cape Horn, the Cape of Good Hope, and Cape Leeuwin.

In 1916, Mr. Prentout dies…

His successors decide to remove the helices and engines of the ship to encourage full use of its sails.

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 twenty years to those passionate about the sea.

In 1944, American bombers destroyed the wreck signaling the death of the greatest tall ship ever built…


French Ship Academy