French ship Commerce de Marseille (1788)

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Commerce de Marseille-IMG 5773.jpg
1/48th scale model on display at Marseille maritime museum
French Navy EnsignFrance
Name: Commerce de Marseille
Namesake: Marseille
Builder: Arsenal de Toulon
Laid down: September 1786
Launched: 7 September 1788
Completed: October 1790
Out of service: 2 August 1850
Struck: 1802
Captured: Seized as prize by Great Britain on 29 August 1793
Fate: Broken up in 1856
General characteristics
Class and type: Océan class ship of the line
Type: Three deck ship of the line
Displacement: 5,098 tonnes
Tons burthen: 2,746 tonnes
Length: 65.18 m (213.8 ft) (196,6 French feet)
Beam: 16.24 m (53.3 ft) (50 French feet)
Draught: 8.12 m (26.6 ft) (25 French feet)
Depth: 25.04 feet
Decks: Three gun decks
Propulsion: sail, 3 265 m²
Complement: 1,079 men

Length of gun deck was 208 feet 4 inches, the longest of any 3-decker ever built.

She was 2746 tonnes burthen, also a record.

The Commerce de Marseille was a 118-gun ship of the line of the French Navy, lead ship of the Océan class. She was funded by a don des vaisseaux donation from chamber of commerce of Marseille.

Built on state-of-the-art plans by Sané, she was dubbed the "finest ship of the century". Her construction was difficult because of a lack of wood, and soon after her completion, she was disarmed, in March 1791.

Commerce de Marseille came under British control during the Siege of Toulon. When the city fell to the French, she evacuated the harbour for Portsmouth. She was briefly used as a store-ship, but on a journey to the Caribbean, in 1795, she was badly damaged in a storm and had to limp back to Portsmouth. She remained there as a hulk until she was broken up in 1856.


  • Dictionnaire de la flotte de guerre française, Jean-Michel Roche