Centaure-class ship of the line

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Class overview
Name: Centaure
Builders: Toulon
Operators:  French Navy
Succeeded by: Téméraire class ship of the line
Planned: 4
Completed: 4
Lost: 4
General characteristics
Type: Ship of the line
Displacement:
  • 1,530 tonnes (first pair);
  • 1,550 tonnes (second pair)
Length:
  • 54.57 m (179.0 ft) (first pair);
  • 56.28 m (184.6 ft) (second pair)
Beam:
  • 14.29 m (46.9 ft) (first pair);
  • 14.16 m (46.5 ft) (second pair)
Draught:
  • 7.04 m (23.1 ft) (first pair);
  • 7.37 m (24.2 ft) (second pair)
Propulsion: Sail
Complement:
  • 705 in wartime;
  • 495 in peacetime
Armament:
  • 74 guns, comprising:
  • Lower deck (1st battery)
  • 28 × 36pdr guns;
  • Upper deck (2nd battery)
  • 30 × 18pdr guns;
  • Gaillards (quarter deck & forecastle)
  • 16 × 8pdr guns.
Armour: Timber
Notes: Ships in class include: Centaure, Heureux, Séduisant, Mercure

The Centaure class was a class of 74-gun ships of the line of the French Navy, comprising four ships, all of which built at Toulon Dockyard to a design dated 28 March 1782 by Joseph-Marie-Blaise Coulomb in the year following the close of the American Revolutionary War. The first pair were ordered on 15 February 1782, and were named on 13 April. After the first two ships were begun, the design was amended for the second pair (which were 5¼ feet longer, and also had slightly less breadth and depth in hold) – which are accordingly often described as the Séduisant Class. This second pair were ordered on 1 June 1782 and named on 21 August. All four ships were destroyed or captured by the British navy during the French Revolutionary War.

Ships in class[edit]

Builder: Toulon
Ordered: 15 February 1782
Begun: 12 May 1782
Launched: 7 November 1782
Completed: December 1782
Fate: Burnt by the British Navy during the evacuation of Toulon on 18 December 1793.
Builder: Toulon
Ordered: 15 February 1782
Begun: 12 May 1782
Launched: 19 December 1782
Completed: April 1783
Fate: Burnt by the British after the Battle of the Nile, 2 August 1798.
Builder: Toulon
Ordered: 1 June 1782
Begun: August 1782
Launched: 5 July 1783
Completed: 1783
Fate: Wrecked while sailing from Brest, 16 December 1796
Builder: Toulon
Ordered: 1 June 1782
Begun: August 1782
Launched: 4 August 1783
Completed: 1783
Fate: Burnt by the British after the Battle of the Nile, 2 August 1798

References[edit]

  • Demerliac, Cmdt. Alain, Nomenclature des navires français de 1774 a 1792. Editions ANCRE, Nice.
  • Winfield, Rif and Roberts, Stephen (2015) French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786-1861: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-204-2.