The company "Chantiers Nantais de Constructions Maritimes" was created to take advantage of the opportunity. It designed a quite classic three-masted barque, the "Amiral Courbet" type, and within 23 months, launched 30 identical ships in its yard at Chantenay-sur-Loire. Shortly after, the company was dissolved.
The "Amiral Courbet" barque was made conventionally of steel plates.
Its capacity was 2200 Gross Tons, 2000 Net Tons, and 3100 Dead Weight Tons.
Its dimensions were length 227', breadth 40'4", and depth 22'5".
The somewhat French look of these ships comes from:
- a long poop (52') and forecastle (39'), for extended and more comfortable crew quarters,
- a steam donkey boiler to operate windlass and pumps, another cause for crew jealousy, and
- a subtly different spacing of the yards on the masts.
These ships were by no means racehorses, and they sailed significantly slower than clipper ships built decades before, but they did their job with regularity and predictability in relatively nasty seas, which is what the shareholders wanted to hear. However, the First World War, then the post-war freight slump brought an end to their story. Not a single one survives past 1932. All is left to travel back in time are now images, and for those for which no pictures were found, one starts to wonder if they ever existed at all....
First built, and first alphabetically (voiliersnantais.free.fr)
National Library of Australia H 99 220 155
Crew (Forum 14-18 MesDiscussions.net)
Irish coast wreck (Randier Lacroix)
see also Randier p.268
Anchored on a calm day (Frédéric Grellier, Voiliers Nantais)
Anchor always ready to go when under tow (Randier p.174)
Beating the wind with all sails on (Randier p.285)
Object on aft main deck may be a canvas ventilator (Frédéric Grellier, Voiliers Nantais)
Wind dead astern, not a comfortable tack
Tugs alongside in narrows [location?]
Waiting for cargo, a not-uncommon occurrence
Three tugs for a very narrow river [location?]
Foremast yards are braced more than main mast for steering stability
see also Villiers & Picard p.104
Hulk in Noumea
Sails on foremast are starting to get taken aback
see also Villiers & Picard pp.122-123, Randier pp.41, 269
Lower yards tilted to clear loading cranes
see also Villiers & Picard p.124
Anchored in a nice breeze
Sinking with all sails set (Villiers & Picard p.142)
With that wind you could probably hear the ship (Frédéric Grellier, Voiliers Nantais)
Moored to an Australian wharf; looks like barkentine Mozart in background
Fore and main sails furled up to avoid damage when becalmed
see also Villiers & Picard p.144
Loading grain by hand at Oakland (Villiers & Picard p.163)
Heaving to, probably waiting for tug or pilot
At quay [is this Cardiff?]
Anchored with the "grand pavois" flags hoisted
Just about to cast off from Saint-Nazaire, with steam billowing from windlass exhaust (Randier p.227)
Under tow into unknown harbor
Spanker and Main sails are furled when running with wind aft
In the process of reducing sail (voiliersnantais.free.fr)
Crew in 1905 (Derome-Droguet)
At anchor with ladder down
Along pier, nearly fully loaded
In Sydney Harbour for repairs after struck by hurricane east of Kerguelen Island.
Sepia postcard showing how to sail without tugs
The royal sails are the first to go when the wind strenghtens
The sail twirl on the fore and main masts is very visible
Abeam of a strong breeze
Towed in after a long voyage
Stranded on Mavis beach in Sydney
Standed; was later refloated
Jean Randier (1974) Grands Voiliers Francais, Grenoble:Editions des Quatre Seigneurs ISBN 2-85231-012-0
Association du Musée Maritime, Fluvial et Portuaire de Rouen, maintains "Listes des Voiliers du Nickel 1890-1922". (http://www.musee-maritime-rouen.asso.fr/LIste%20des%20voiliers%20du%20nickel.htm)
SLNSW = State Library of New South Wales, Australia (http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/)
SLSA = State Library of South Australia
SLV= State Library of Victoria, Australia (http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/)
Voiliers Nantais (http://voiliersnantais.free.fr/HTML/page001.html)
http://classes.belem44.free.fr/guemene/site%20Belem/les_voiliers..htm La construction navale de Nantes à Saint-nazaire de 1850 à 1914.
created Jan 05, 2007 revised Apr 18, 2017