A full size model!

COLIN BISHOP photographs a replica of a traditional French sailing sloop

Saint Jeanne makes a trim sight alongside the breakwater at Erquy. The vertical timbers amidships are grounding legs to enable her to dry out at low tide.

Once or twice a year my wife and I take advantage of the Brittany Ferries 24hr excursion offers to have a day out in France. Leaving overnight from Portsmouth on a Friday evening, the ferry docks at around 8am at St Malo and we then have the whole day free before re-boarding in the evening to arrive back in Portsmouth early Sunday morning. If the weather is kind (which it is more often than you would expect) we may drive about 30 miles west through the spectacular coastal scenery to the fishing port and small resort of Erquy. After looking round the Saturday market, coffee in a harbour front bar rounds off the morning nicely.

Over the years I had noticed an attractive looking green hulled traditional boat moored in the harbour but it was usually too far away to get a good look at it. On my most recent visit however, it was moored alongside the breakwater which gave the opportunity for a closer inspection. The boat’s name is Sainte Jeanne and she is in fact a modern replica built in 1994 of an original “sloop cabotage” or coastal trader originally built in 1912 and wrecked off nearby Paimpol in 1937. Typical cargoes were cereals, salt, sand and gravel, coal, oil, iron ore and phosphates, livestock, onions, potatoes and apples for cider, but mostly pink sandstone pavers from the Erquy quarries. The modern replica, which is literally a full size model, is now used for tourism and business trips of varying durations.

Vital statistics of Saint Jeanne are: Length 16m; beam 4.8m; draught 2.2m; height of mast 23m; sail area 200 square metres.

The photos are of particular value to modelmakers of traditional boats of the period as they clearly show the rigging and deck gear arrangements. Sainte Jeanne would certainly make an intriguing modelling project.