France II was a French sailing ship and the second one of that
name. She was the second largest commercial merchant sailing
ship ever built.
Built in 1911 at the yards ("Chantiers et Ateliers de la Gironde")
located on the banks of the river Garonne in Bordeaux to the
plans of chief designer Gustave Leverne (1861–1940) for the
nickel ore trade and was owned by the "Société Anonyme des
Navires Mixtes (Prentout-Leblond, Leroux & Cie.)".
The huge barque was equipped with two Schneider 950 hp diesel
engines which were removed in 1919. At that time she became the
largest sailing ship ever built. Her crew consisted of 5
officers: captain, 2nd captain (on French ships only (second
capitaine); a naval officer of a captain's rank as a
vice-captain and security officer, see chief mate), 1st, 2nd,
and 3rd mates and 40 able seamen including cook, steward,
sailmaker, ship's carpenter, which was increased to 45 in 1919.
In 1915 she was sold to Leroux-Henzey of Rouen and sold again in
1916 to the "Compagnie Française de Marine et de Commerce"
("French Company of Marine and Trade") also of Rouen, her port
of registry remained the same.
In the night of July 12, 1922 she went aground on the Teremba
reef (Urai bay) north west to the Ouano reef, nearly 60 nm north
west of Nouméa, New Caledonia, homeward bound to Europe with a
cargo of chrome ore from Pouembout. Because of fallen cargo
rates her owner refused to pay to tow her free from the Ouano
reef by a tug boat which was absolutely possible. In 1944,
American bombers bombed the wreckage for target practice.
planning started to raise funds to design and build a replica of
the France II but by 2010 very little progress had been made.