Class and type: five-masted steel barque: nickel
Builder : Chantiers et Ateliers de la Gironde
France II was built in 1911 at the yards of Chantiers et Ateliers de la Gironde on the banks of the river Garonne in Bordeaux to the plans of chief designer Gustave Leverne (1861-1940). She was intended for the nickel ore trade and owned by the Société Anonyme des Navires Mixtes (Prentout-Leblond, Leroux & Cie.). At that time she had the largest cargo capacity of any sailing ship ever built.
The huge barque was equipped with two Schneider 950 hp diesel engines, which were removed in 1919. Her crew consisted of 5 officers: captain, 2nd captain (on French ships only (second captain); a naval officer of a captain’s rank as a vice-captain and security officer, see chief mate), 1st, 2nd, and 3rd mates and 40 able seamen including cook, steward, sailmaker, ship’s carpenter, which was increased to 45 in 1919.
In 1915 she was sold to Leroux-Henzey of Rouen, and sold again in 1916 to the Compagnie Française de Marine et de Commerce (French Company of Marine and Trade) also of Rouen, her port of registry remained the same.
On a homeward passage in 1922 with a cargo of chrome ore from Pouembout, New Caledonia, she went aground on the night of July 12, 1922 on the Teremba reef (Urai bay) northwest of the Ouano reef, nearly 60 nm northwest of Nouméa. Because of fallen cargo rates her owner refused to pay for a tug to tow her free, and she was abandoned. In 1944, American bombers bombed the wreckage for target practice.
In 1995 planning started to raise funds to design and build a replica of the France II, but by 2010 very little progress had been made.
Tall-ship cruise line “Star Clippers” launched a new ship based on the “France II”, Flying Clipper, on the 10th of June 2017.