Admiral François-Edmond Pâris published a book of drawings and writings of his called Souvenirs de marine conservés, there are three volumes of huge lineart ship drawings for many ships from around the world. In 1976 a German company published a reprint in 3 volumes and I recently acquired a copy.
As a ship nerd I like these books because out of all the Conway, Lavery, and Winfield books that I have, they are very Eurocentric. Pâris brings us Japanese ships and other things you don’t find anywhere else. We’re going to do a listing of the ships detailed in the three volumes and try to find out which of these ships our readers would like to see as a highly detailed set of deckplans for poster maps and Virtual Tabletop play.
One of the ships in the collection is a Xebec, I found a typical Xebec in my French Warships in the age of sail, but the picture of the plans in that book would fit in my wallet. The pages from the 1976 edition of Pâris’ book are 13 inches high and 18 inches wide. Xebecs are small and fast and used by pirates and privateers alike, pirates liked them to run down fat merchant cargo ships and privateers liked them to take on enemy merchant shipping for the same reason. As a bonus of their slim design and lateen sails, any military ship big enough to take them on, was too slow to catch them.
This is Le Requin sister ship of L’Indescret both were 24 gun Xebecs built in Toulon in 1750.
122’6″ long — Charles I or II decided that all ships are measured by the length of their gundeck.
101’3″ keel — not as long as the whole ship because the bow and stern might both extend over the keel on higher decks.
27’9″ beam — this is how wide the ship is usually at its widest point. because ships aren’t rectangular knowing the extreme is most helpful knowing if it can fit inside a canal or if something else can fit inside of it. A merchant freighter and warship with the same length and beam might have totally different amounts of cargo space.
9’2″ depth — how deep is the hold of the ship, while this doesn’t say how deep the ship is below the waterline, it does affect how deep a channel or shallow water the ship can go into. These Xebecs might be able to stay close to shore, exploit higher wind speeds, stay closer to an island to avoid being seen and then jump out at a passing cargo ship. Ships with deeper holds can crash thru waves and maintain their momentum thereby achieving higher speeds in stormy seas.
260 tons burthen, 170 crew in wartime 5 officers
24×8 pound French cannon
At some point during the process of cataloging the ships in the collection, I’ll scan in the Xebec from the Admiral Pâris and we’ll take a closer look at the details.