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The result of the-official inquiry into the, collision which took place off Dungeness on Wednesday between H.M.S. Blenheim and the French sailing vessel La France will be awaited with some interest. It seems almost incredible that the man-of-war, a. huge vessel of 9000 tons, should have got the Avoret of the accidental encounter, but that is what' we are left toassume from the cable message. The Blenheim, we are told, has been docked for repairs, and La France, we may suppose, has been welcomed at Calais or Dunkirk by thousands of enthusiastic Frenchmen as the avenger of Trafalgar. The latter vessel, by the way, was in Australian waters two or three years ago, when she ■carried a cargo of coal from to San Francisco. At that time she was., described as the largest sailing vessel afloat, and attracted a good deal of attention by her beautiful lines. She ia built of steel and her net gauge! is 3600 tons, while her carrying-' capacity is 6100 tons. She is 375 ft vol. length, 49ft in breadth and 33$ ft in depth measured from the upper deck to the bottom of the hold. Some of her other dimensions may interest nautical readers. Her bowsprit is 50ft long and 12in and.3oin in diameter, mizzenmast, in a single piece, 140 ft, mainboom of the mkzenmast 46ft, upper throat 21ft, lower throat 43ft. The foremast is 159 ft, foremainmast 161 ft and after-mainmast 167 ft. The diameter of the masts varies from 3Oin to 17in ; the length of the lower yards is S2ft, upper yards 75ft to 77ft, topgallant yards from 59ft to 64ft, royal yards 47ft. The masts are about (58ft apart, and they carry an enormous spread of canva6. The vessel has a double cellular bottom for water ballast, and iv the centre a tight hold that contains 1200 tons of water. She was built on the Clyde' by Messrs D. and W. Henderson, and, is owned by a French firm in Dunkirk.., On her first trip from Cardiff to Eio de Janeiro she attained a speed of 12i, knotß and completed the voyage with 6000 tons of coal in thirty-three days. Her captain reported after this highly creditable performance that "the fifth mast greatly facilitated the working of the ship, and that she tacked about with wonderful ease." It will be a sad blow to the naval architects to discover that this successor to the old-fashioned clippers is capable of inflicting a serions injury upon one of the triumphs of their art.

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Bibliographic details

Star, Star, Issue 5784, 30 January 1897

Word Count

THE BLENHEIM-LA FRANCE COLLISION. Star, Issue 5784, 30 January 1897