Sans-Pareil-class ship of the line

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For other ships of the same name, see French ship Sans Pareil.
Sans-Pareil.png
1/30th model of the Sans-Pareil now kept at the Musée de la Marine in Paris
Class overview
Name: Sans-Pareil
Operators:  French Navy
Planned: Océan, Médiateur, Majestueux, Indomptable
Completed: 1
General characteristics
Type: Ship of the Line
Armament: 116-gun
Armour: timber

The Sans-Pareil ("Peerless") was a ship of the line project presented to Louis XV between 1757 and 1760. No actual ship of the French Navy bore the name, though the Royal Louis was built on the scheme.

Evolution of the capital ships[edit]

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the size and power of the main capital ship was subject to a notable increase. The ships inflated from 50 guns and 300 men to 120 guns and 1,200 men, though most of the fleet was composed of the more reasonable 64-gun, 74-gun and 80-gun two-decker ships, the three-deckers being typically the flagships.

On the other hand, the artillery techniques undertook no significant improvement, with the old smooth-bore pieces, and a practical range of about 500 to 600 metres.

A typical 108-gun ship of the time was about 56 metres long at the waterline, 16.5 metres wide, 20 metres high (hull) and carry two 990 square-metre sails.

The Sans-Pareil project[edit]

The Sans-Pareil was a project to build a series of ships taking into account new improvements in ship design. The name was suggested twice to Louis XV; in 1751, the king preferred Océan, and in 1757, Royal-Louis, Médiateur, Majestueux, and Indomptable. Only the Royal-Louis was actually built; due to the huge costs of construction, the three others were replaced with smaller-sized ships of the line.

The Sans-Pareil only existed as a 1/30th model which is now kept at the Musée de la Marine in Paris. It is very likely to offer only very minor differences to what the Royal-Louis was like when she was launched in Brest in 1759.

The figurehead featured a lion. The ornaments of the aft were simplified, integrating the overall lines and structure of the ship.