The Stopover boats in Sète 2024: the Belle Hen, the resistance of the FFL

The Stopover boats in Sète 2024: the Belle Hen, the resistance of the FFL

La goélette Belle Poule a pris sa part lors de la Seconde guerre mondiale.

Destinée dès sa construction en 1932 à former les marins de l’école navale, la Belle Poule a également connu son heure de gloire en rejoignant les forces libres durant la seconde guerre mondiale.

It is robust because it was built (in 1932) according to the plans of the topsail schooners of Paimpol which went to fish for cod off the coast of Iceland. With the grain on that side of the globe, it's better to be strong. But Belle Poule also has a lot of character. Indeed, this French sailboat from the naval school immediately responded to De Gaulle's call in 1940 and took – in the company of his twin brother l’Étoile – the direction of Falmouth to take its part in the conflict.


Name: Belle Poule
Type: Schooner
Launched in 1932
Pavillon French
Home port: Brest
Length: 37.50 m
Mast height: 21.6 m
Sail areas: 424 m2
Number of sailors on board: 16.

Hit by two bombs

Once in England the two schooners will serve in turn as a naval school in the South, a vast channel which separates the Isle of Wight from the Hampshire coast, while the ’ rsquo;other hosts apprentice gunners. In 1941, two incendiary bombs, dropped by the Germans, fell on the bridge of the Belle Pouleand will be saved thanks to the courage of its commander who will emerge seriously injured. Even if the naval school was subsequently transferred to Casablanca, the two units would remain in England until the end of the war.

Where and when to see it ?

From March 26 to April 1, Quai d’Algiers. Free.

Eric Tabarly as sailor

As a reward, these two schooners have the right to carry at the end of their bowsprit (the mast located in front and practically parallel to the water) a flag with the Cross of Lorraine. Since then, La Belle Poule, like L'Etoile elsewhere, has continued to train cadet officers of the national navy to develop their seamanship, based on the principle that if they escape from a complicated situation on a sailboat, they will get there on any other type of vessel. One of his best-known students in 1958 was a certain Eric Tabarly.

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