In Napoleonic times, the British made life miserable for Napoleon and his fleets – the Battle of Trafalgar is a milestone in the history of the British Royal Navy, and Admiral Lord Nelson ‘s flagship, the ‘Victory’ has been preserved in Portsmouth where she remains in ‘active service’. British shipbuilder Michael Turk dreamt of recreating a ship from the days of Nelson and in 1997 that dream became reality when he was asked to build a ship for the TV series ‘Hornblower’.
The ‘Grand Turk’ was built at Marmaris in Turkey, and was soon regarded as the epitome of Nelson’s Navy - and of course, that most righteous gentleman sailor Horatio Hornblower! From 2002 to 2007, ‘Grand Turk’ was the flagship for Ostend at Anchor, but in 2008 the economic recession meant a significant change for the ship. Reduced demand for the ship combined with increased operating costs led to her being offered for sale, but thanks to the efforts of the French sailing company ‘Etoile Marine’ and its enterprising owner Bob Escofier who purchased the vessel in 2010, she now sails the oceans as the flagship of his company, based in Saint-Malo.
The ship was renamed ‘Etoile du Roy’ and we are extremely proud that she remains the flagship of Ostend at Anchor, and hopefully will remain so for many years to come.
Frigate Etoile du Roy
Etoile du Roy is a full-size replica of an eighteenth-century naval frigate, based on theoriginal plans of ‘HMS Blandford’ built in 1741 – to a design ‘borrowed’ from those of a French privateer! It’s perhaps ironic that HMS Blandford was in fact captured in 1755 by Duguay-Trouin, a French privateer operating out of Saint-Malo. These ships were usually around 300 tons, armed with 20 cannon and a crew of 240 men. Mostly privately owned, they were given dispensation to freely attack the ships of an enemy country – provided part of the bounty was donated to the state treasury! Although often regarded as little more than pirates, if necessary their crews would be given ‘safe conduct’ by the state and its allies.