The sight of a 47 metre long,
three masted, pirate ship moored in St Malo Harbour is nothing
unusual for the "locals" but does
intrigue passengers on the ferry entering St Malo! The picture
on the right was taken from the deck of the Condor Express.
The Etoile du Roy,
meaning the King's Star, is a private charter ship available for
events which can include cocktails and dinners as well as conferences, seminars or family
celebrations. It is however possible to go onboard and explore
the vessel when it is moored in the harbour during July and August
and school holidays.
The vessel is similar to the type of frigate used by the Corsairs of
St Malo and is armed with 20 smooth bore cannons. These frigates
were scout ships and message carriers rather than battle ships but
were however used to assist in attacking commercial vessels - hence the cannons.
In reality, L'Etoile du Roy was on the British register and is a replica of a British
Initially called Grand Turk, the ship was built in Mamaris,
Turkey in 1996 to be used for the ITV series Hornblower and the
construction was inspired by HMS Blandford of 1741, a British
frigate involved in the Battle of Trafalgar. The Grand Turk participated in the 200th anniversary
of the Battle of Trafalgar
celebrations of 28 June 2005. The then Grand Turk stood in for the
HMS Victory at the International Fleet Review at Portsmouth. In the Hornblower TV series she was a stand in for the HMS Indefatigable.
She also appeared as the French vessel "Papillon" in the same
Apart from the Hornblower TV series of 1998 to 2003, the vessel was
used in the Granada production of Longitude in 2000, Monsieur N,
directed by Antoine Decaune in 2003, and the BBC programme "To the
Ends of the Earth" Tightrope Pictures in 2005.
In 2010 the Grand Turk was purchased by Étoile Marine Croisières, a
company owned by Bob Escoffier and was renamed l’Étoile du Roy. The
company also own other traditional ships called Étoile de France,
Étoile Molène, Étoile Polaire, Naire Maove and in partnership with
the SOPAB, the Brest La Recouvrance. The Grand Turk, now
L'Etoile du Roy left her mooring of ten years in Whitby at 4:00am on
16 March 2010 to sail to Saint Malo in France.
L'Etoile du Roy can welcome 350 people when in port and 120 at sea,
weighs 310 tons and is the second biggest traditional vessel in
France. Her rigging is 35.6 metres high and there are 790 square
meters of sails. She is built of iroko wood, mahogany and some pine.
However she is equipped with modern equipment including two 400
horsepower Kelvin TAS8 engines enabling a speed of 8.5 knots, a bow
thruster 60 horsepower and four Ford 110, 80, 70 and 35 kVA
generators as well as windlass and hydraulic winches. The engines
consume 1850 litres of fuel per day.
When she is actually in port, the pirate vessel is open to the
public during school holidays and throughout the summer months of
July and August. The cost for a visit is very reasonable at 6 €
for an adult, 3€ for a child and the family charge for two adults
and three children is 15€. A guided visit costs slightly more.
She is moored at the Quai Duguay-Trouin in St. Malo.
Read about the
Corsairs of St Malo by clicking here.
L'Etoile du Roy sailing into St Malo
The Etoile du Roy when commissioned for a
promotional event at Le Barrage de la
Rance at Le Richardais near Dinard