Étoile du Roy

International Radio callsign: Foxtrot-Foxtrot-Zulu-Alpha

Étoile du Roy ('King's Star'), formerly Grand Turk, is a three-masted sixth-rate frigate, designed to represent a generic warship during the Age of Sail, with her design greatly inspired by HMS Blandford. The ship was built in Marmaris, Turkey, in 1996 to provide a replica of a frigate for the production of the ITV series adapted from the novels about Royal Navy officer Horatio Hornblower by C. S. Forester. Nowadays the tall ship is used mainly in sailing events, for corporate or private charter, and for receptions in her spacious saloon or on her deck. In 2010 the French company Étoile Marine Croisières, based at Saint-Malo, Brittany, purchased the ship and renamed her Étoile du Roy.

The model for the replica was a frigate designed by Michael Turk of Turks Shipyard Ltd. of Chatham, which was established in 1710.[5] The modern replica was constructed of iroko planking over laminated mahogany frames. She has an overall length of 152 ft (46 m), and is 97 ft (30 m) at the waterline, with a beam of 34 ft (10 m) and a draught of 10 ft (3.0 m). The frigate is square-rigged on three masts with a sail area of 8,500 sq ft (790 m2), and has two 400 hp (298 kW) Kelvin TAS8 diesel engines, and a 60 hp (45 kW) bow thruster, as well as four AC generators for electrical power.[3]

The ship was originally fitted with six 9-pounder replica cannon constructed by the naval dockyard of Sevastopol, Ukraine. These guns consisted of a high tensile steel tube encased in moulded alloy to resemble the original weapons, and were designed only to fire 400 g (14 oz) black powder charges. On 24 August 2001 a crew member was injured after a premature explosion during the firing of a gun, while the ship was taking part in the International Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch were obliged to consult the Keeper of Artillery from the Royal Armouries museum for technical assistance and advice.

Grand Turk is familiar as a stand in for HMS Indefatigable in the TV series Hornblower, although the historical Indefatigable was a much larger ship. She also served in the same TV series as the French ship Papillon. In 2000, she undertook a voyage around Britain for the National Trust, calling at eight ports, where she was open to the public with the National Trust 'Coast Show' on board. On 28 June 2005 she stood in for HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar, during the International Fleet Review off Portsmouth (GB), commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The frigate was purchased by Bob Escoffier of the Étoile Marine Croisières, which already operates a number of traditional sailing ships: Étoile de France, Étoile Molène, Étoile Polaire, Naire Maove' and the schooner-aviso Recouvrance in Brest (in partnership with its owner, the SOPAB). The final sale price was not disclosed.

After being moored in Whitby for over a decade, Grand Turk sailed for her current location in France on 16 March 2010.


Museum info: La Frégate Corsaire l'Etoile du Roy
Address:  Quai Duguay Trouin, 35400 Saint-Malo, France
Phone: +33 299404872
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