La Renommée...A Unique Frigate

La Renommée...A Unique Frigate

Few frigates of the mid-1700s displayed the sleek lines and advanced features of la Renommée (pronounced: reh-noh-may´), which was built in 1744 and carried eight pounders. Her unique nautical architecture influenced the future of ship design in England as well as in France. La Renommée sailed both sides of the Atlantic under the French and British ensigns for almost 27 years. Discover the fascinating story of la Renommée/Renown and those who sailed her. You will find the frigate’s technical specifications, cruise locations, commanders, and history here. Biographical information on the ship’s captains spans their entire careers and major achievements. As research uncovers more of la Renommée’s history, it will be added to this website.

Read The Ship's History
The Commanders

The Commanders

The history of la Renommée is full of surprising incidents and noteworthy commanders over the length of the frigate’s service to two nations at war with one another. Below is a snippet of just two of the ship’s captains:

Captain Guy François de Coëtnempren de Kersaint took the first command of la Renommée in 1745. The frigate proved to out-run any other frigate at sea and was sent immediately on a mission to the citadel of Louisbourg in Cape Breton. The ship sailed from France three times to the great “Gibraltar of the North” as the lead scout and never once completed her mission. Battles, fogs, storms, and disease interrupted every attempt. Long after de Kersaint left la Renommée’s command, he met his demise in a most peculiar way at the Battle of Quiberon Bay.

In 1747, only three years after the launch of la Renommée, Captain Washington Shirley of the British Royal Navy encountered the frigate sailing to Santo Domingo. Nearly sinking her, he captured her in a savage fight, beginning the ship’s career under a new flag and influencing the course of British ship design. Washington Shirley not only helped change the science of ship building in England, but became a member of the Royal Society, the Grand Master of the Masonic Temple, a Member of Parliament, and the 5th Earl Ferrers, all within two years and under extraordinary circumstances!

The above captains of la Renommée/Renown are only a few of the famous captains who commanded the frigate. Click the button below to read more about the year-by-year, month-by-month, or in some cases, day-by-day lives of the extraordinary commanders of the extraordinary ship.

Read About The Commanders

La Renommée Timeline

This timeline shows the 27 year span of la Renommée from her launch to her break up. Note that years of combat are marked with crossed swords. For more specifics, go to the ship’s history page. For more information on its construction and captures, click the buttons below.

Read About The CapturesRead About The Construction
La Renommée Timeline
NEW! HISTORICAL NOVEL — Based on La Renommee

NEW! HISTORICAL NOVEL — Based on La Renommee

THE SHIP’S CARPENTER features nautical adventure during the mid-18th-century as Abraham, an English shipwright, flees to France and meets his French love, Yvette. Sea battles, dramatic escapes, and heroic and chivalrous deeds follow. From old London to the citadel of Louisbourg, Abraham and Yvette, and historical characters swing on a pendulum between joy and desperation, and victory and defeat. The French warship la Renommée links all in a world of ardent lovers and adventurous warriors crossing paths in the frigate’s wake.

GoodReads: “I really enjoyed reading this story…excellent work.”

“…the main characters in this book are really the ships themselves.”

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“I would recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction…and fans of Horatio Hornblower.”

“You get a sense that the author loves these sailing ships and all things nautical.”

Historical Novel Society:“…a solid, fast-paced storyline. It’s an interesting and worthwhile read.”

Amazon: “Enjoyed the book immensely!”

Amazon (UK): “A great read. An action packed book…in a well described historical setting.”

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La Renommée: Story of a French Frigate

La Renommée: Story of a French Frigate contains the history, construction, captures, and commanders of the frigate taken from this website’s pages and other sources. It is in booklet format and is FREE to download as a PDF. Click the button below.

FREE PDF Booklet
La Renommée: Story of a French Frigate















The list of books below deal with la Renommée/Renown or its historic period. Included in the book reviews are the page numbers where information on the frigate can be found. In addition, many historical French and English books contain information on the ship and her commanders and can be found on the internet.