Jacques-Noël Sané

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Jacques-Noël Sané

Jacques-Noël Sané (18 February 1740 - 22 August 1831) was a French naval engineer, one of the most successful shipbuilders of the Age of Sail.

Sané studied under Duhamel du Monceau. His designs were so successful that he was nicknamed "The Naval Vauban".

Sané´s masterpiece was a design for a large 118-gun three-decker ship at first named Les États de Bougogne, launched in 1790. His new design expressed itself fully with this ship, which was renamed four times between 1793 and 1795, eventually becoming the Océan; the hull was simple with straight lines, minimal ornaments, and curved sides. The stern was almost integrated in the hull. The ship was still in commission in 1848 and was considered one of the best sailing ships in the France fleet.

The performance of his ships of the line were almost comparable to those of a frigate. English shipyards of the time often copied the lines of French vessels which had been taken.

The masts were both thinner and higher, but also stronger than the 18th century designs. The aft sail plan on the mizzen had taken its definitive shape around 1780; Topgallant sails were common, which allowed for varying the area of sail presented to the wind with more subtlety. This allowed to the ships to point further into the wind. The hull shape did not improve as much as sail design and the speed was not improved as much as became possible with later clipper hull designs which reduced leeway.

The French navy of the time was organised around three ranks :

  • The first with 118-gun three-deckers and 80-gun two-deckers
  • The second with 74-gun two-deckers
  • The third with 64-gun two-deckers

Under Sané, 107 identical 74-gun ships of the line of the Téméraire class were built, 35 80-gun and 9 118-gun of the Océan class. The 118-gun Commerce-de-Marseille, captured by the English, was said to "manoeuver like a frigate" in spite of her size. [1]

Sané also designed numerous classes of smaller warships, including several designs of frigate, to which at least 143 were built. This included four classes of 18-pounder armed frigates (successively the 6-ship Hébé (1782 design), 10-ship Virginie (1793 design), 7-ship Hortense (1801 design) and 54-ship Pallas (1805 design) classes.