French ship Espérance (1781)

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Recherche and Espérance-François Roux mg 0574.jpg
The Recherche and Espérance, by François Roux
French Navy Ensign French Navy EnsignFrance
Name: Espérance
Namesake: Hope
Builder: Toulon
Laid down: June 1780
Launched: 14 August 1781
Christened: Durance
Commissioned: 30 October 1781
Out of service: 28 October 1794
Reclassified: Frigate in 1791
Fate: Sold for scrap
General characteristics
Class and type: Rhône class
Type: scow
Displacement: c. 350 tonnes
Length: 37 m (121 ft)
Beam: 8.3 m (27 ft)
Draught: 4.2 m (14 ft)
Propulsion: Sail
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Complement: 200
Armament: 6 × 8-pounders + two carronades
Armour: Timber

The Espérance was a Rhône class scow of the French Navy, launched in 1781 and later reclassified as a frigate. She earned fame as one of the ships of Bruni d'Entrecasteaux's expedition. The Australian town of Esperance was named after her. She was sold for breaking up in 1794.


Espérance was built as Durance and served in de Grasse's squadron as a troopship. On 18 December 1782, she departed Toulon with the frigates Précieuse and Prosélyte, and the corvette Poulette, in a convoy bound for the Caribbean, that also included the fluyts Gracieuse and Rhône.[1]

A decade later, on 29 September 1791, Espéranceunder Captain Huon de Kermadec, and Recherche sailed from Brest to New Caledonia. They were on a mission under the command of Admiral d'Entrecasteaux in search of the explorer Lapérouse. The mission was unsuccessful: it was not until 1826 that the mystery of Laperouse's disappearance was solved.


On 28 October 1793, the Dutch captured Espérance at Surabaya. However, they restored her to France in February 1794. In September, she was sold to Holland, and two months later she was sold for scrap.

Sources and references[edit]

  1. ^ Roche, p.359
  • Roche, Jean-Michel (2005). Dictionnaire des bâtiments de la flotte de guerre française de Colbert à nos jours. 1. Group Retozel-Maury Millau. p. 180. ISBN 978-2-9525917-0-6. OCLC 165892922. 

See also[edit]