Grand Turk (frigate)

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Grand Turk, moored in Ostend, Belgium.
Grand Turk, moored in Ostend, Belgium
United Kingdom
Name: Grand Turk
Owner: Turk Phoenix Ltd.[1]
Laid down: December 1996[1]
Launched: September 1997[1]
Fate: Sold, 2010
Name: Étoile du Roy
Owner: Étoile Marine Croisières
Port of registry: Saint-Malo, Brittany
Acquired: 2010
Status: in active service, as of 2014
General characteristics [3]
Type: Sixth-rate frigate
  • 152 ft (46 m) o/a
  • 125 ft (38 m) deck
  • 97 ft (30 m) w/l
Beam: 34 ft (10 m)
Draught: 10 ft (3.0 m)
  • 2 × 400 hp (298 kW) Kelvin TAS8 diesel engines
  • 2 shafts
  • 1 × 60 hp (45 kW) bow thruster
Sail plan:
Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph) (engines)[1]
Crew: 9 permanent + up to 23 volunteers[1]
  • 6 × 9-pounder guns
  • 3 × 2-pounder guns[1]

Grand Turk is a three-masted sixth-rate frigate, designed to represent a generic Nelson-age warship, with her design greatly inspired by HMS Blandford (1741). The ship was built in Marmaris, Turkey, in 1996 to provide a replica of a frigate for the production of the ITV series adapted from the novels about Royal Navy officer Horatio Hornblower by C. S. Forester. Nowadays the tall ship is used mainly in sailing events, for corporate or private charter, and for receptions in her spacious saloon or on her deck. In 2010 the ship was purchased by the French company Étoile Marine Croisières, based at Saint-Malo, Brittany, and since then has been renamed Étoile du Roy ("King's Star").[4]

Construction and design[edit]

The frigate was designed by Michael Turk of Turks Shipyard Ltd. of Chatham, which was established in 1710.[5] She was constructed of iroko planking over laminated mahogany frames. She has an overall length of 152 ft (46 m), and is 97 ft (30 m) at the waterline, with a beam of 34 ft (10 m) and a draught of 10 ft (3.0 m). The frigate is square-rigged on three masts with a sail area of 8,500 sq ft (790 m2), and has two 400 hp (298 kW) Kelvin TAS8 diesel engines, and a 60 hp (45 kW) bow thruster, as well as four AC generators for electrical power.[3]

The ship was originally fitted with six 9-pounder replica cannons constructed by the naval dockyard of Sevastopol, Ukraine. These guns consisted of a high tensile steel tube encased in moulded alloy to resemble the original weapons, and were designed only to fire 400 g (14 oz) black powder charges. On 24 August 2001 a crew member was injured after a premature explosion during the firing of a gun, while the ship was taking part in the International Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch were obliged to consult the Keeper of Artillery from the Royal Armouries museum for technical assistance and advice.[1]


Grand Turk entering the harbour of Ostend, Belgium

Grand Turk is familiar as a stand in for HMS Indefatigable in the TV series Hornblower, although the historical Indefatigable was a larger ship. She also served in the same TV series as the French ship Papillon. On 28 June 2005 she stood in for HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship at the International Fleet Review off Portsmouth (GB), commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Film and TV credits[edit]

Current location[edit]

The frigate was purchased by Bob Escoffier of the Étoile Marine Croisières, which already operates a number of traditional sailing ships: Étoile de France, Étoile Molène, Étoile Polaire, Naire Maove et' and the schooner-aviso Recouvrance in Brest (in partnership with its owner, the SOPAB). The final sale price was not disclosed.

After being moored in Whitby for over a decade, Grand Turk sailed out of her home harbour for last time at on 16 March 2010 to her current location in France.

Ship images
Rainbow in the rigging
Rainbow in the rigging 
Hammocks rigged below
Hammocks rigged below 
Etoile du Roy at Brest 2012
Étoile du Roy at Brest, 2012 
Etoile du Roy at Concarneau
Étoile du Roy at Concarneau, 2014 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Grand Turk accident investigation report" (PDF). Marine Accident Investigation Branch. April 2002. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Étoile du Roy Details and Current Position". 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Grand Turk, Replica Frigate, Specifications". 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  4. ^ A British Vessel is now a French Pirate Ship! - The Etoile du Roy of St Malo (Channel France Online Magazine website)
  5. ^ "About Turks". 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 

External links[edit]