Etoile and Belle Poule

The Étoile and Belle Poule schooners, from the Free French Naval Forces to the French Naval Academy

Replicas of Icelandic schooners from Paimpol which fished cod off the shores of Iceland, the Belle Poule and Étoile vessels have been serving since 1932 as annexes to the French Naval Academy for cadets’ training. Practical sailing is supposed to develop «seamanship», in other words, risk measurement and manoeuvring skills: a good tactician knows indeed how to get out of difficult situations and take advantage of the wind. In accordance with the orders of the Admiralty, so as not to fall into the hands of the Germans, the schooners left Brest on 18 June 1940, at the time of defeat and rejoined at Falmouth. Captured by the English at the time of the « Catapult » operation, they were returned to the Free French Naval Forces and became part of them on 20 September 1940. Since that time, they have been bearing the maritime flag with Cross of Lorraine. At the end of the conflict, the schooners returned to France and their home port of Brest. Since then, they have been actively involved in the maritime training of the French Naval Academy’s cadets and sail all year along French and foreign shores. They also contribute to the influence of the French Navy. Indeed, in parallel with this primary mission of training, the schooners take part in nautical events inrance and abroad.

The La Grande Hermine yawl and the Mutin cutter complete the collection of training ships

Commissioned in 1932 and purchased in 1963 by the French Navy, the “ La Grande Hermine” yawl has been serving as training ship for cadets since June 2000, with a primary mission: teaching how to handle sails and navigate. The Mutin cutter, built in 1926, is the oldest boat in service in the French Navy in all categories ! It has been part of the training vessels fleet of the French Naval Academy since 1968 and contributes to cadets’ training