Friday, November 21, 2014

In 1802 ‘Santísima Trinidad’ was the largest*** warship in the world.

Designed by an Irish naval architect, the Spanish first-rate, Santísima Trinidad (Holy Trinity) was built in Havana, Cuba in 1769. Originally designed with three gun decks she bore 112 cannon. Twenty five years later, 18 more guns were added when a fourth deck was created by closing in the spar-deck between the quarterdeck and the forecastle. 

In 1802 her guns were increased and with 4-gundecks bearing 140 guns the ‘Santísima Trinidad’ was reputed to be the largest warship in the world,
Her original armament of 112 guns consisted of 30 × 36 pdrs, 32 × 24 pdrs, 32 × 12 pdrs and 18 × 8 pdrs. She had a displacement of 4950  tons, was 61.3 m long (201 ft) with a beam 16.2 m (53 ft) and  carried a complement of 1050 crew.

When Santísima Trinidad, sailed for Trafalgar in October 1805 with the combined Franco/Spanish fleet she carried more guns than any other ship-of-the line outfitted in the Age-of-sail but ‘due to her great bulk, her helm was unresponsive in the light winds of the day’ and she was targetted by ships of the British fleet.
Having lost her mast she eventually surrendered and was taken in tow. In the devastating storm which blew in the day after the battle, she sank.
Today a full-size representation of Santísima Trinidad sits on the wharf in Alicante, in Spain. This is not a true replica, but was constructed over the steel hull of a merchant ship.

The stern galleries are particularly impressive.

Today the ship is a popular pub, disco and restaurant.
Ref: Wikipedia and pics in public domain.
1) The Spanish warship Holy Trinity (Santísima Trinidad). Known as "El Escorial of the seas", it was the only ship in the Battle of Trafalgar that had four decks and 136 cannon.
2) Plans of Spanish ship Santísima Trinidad, before conversion to four-decker
4) Infante don Pelayo going to rescue Santisima Trinidad at Battle of Cape St Vincent on 14 February 1797.
Replica/Representation of Spanish ship Nuestra Señora de la Santísima Trinidad (Alicante) by MM (2012)

I have been advised by an informed reader that Santisima Trinidad was not the largest ship in the world at the time. 
Evidence of this fact is substantiated in the comments posted below by: Nautique.
As the detailed evidence is specific and quite extensive I have not included those facts in this post but trust that readers will seek out this information to update their knowledge.
I extend my thanks to the writer of the comment for this.


ediFanoB said...

For me it is nearly impossible to imagine 1050 crew members living an 60 meters long ship.

I have had the pleasure to read FLOATING GOLD and I liked it a lot.
I was really happy when I read that there will be a fourth novel starring Oliver Quintrell.

M. C. Muir said...

I agree about the overcrowding. I have sailed on the Dutch tall ship Europa but there were only about 50 people on that. It would have been incredibly crowded with 1050 people.
I'm glad to hear you enjoyed Floating Gold. I have just finished writing THE UNFORTUNATE ISLES and hope eto have it published before the end of the year. MM

Linda Collison said...

Thank you for gathering this information and posting it. Bob and I really enjoyed cruising with you, in 2012. When in Alicante, Spain, he and I enjoyed a drink aboard the ship reminiscent of Santisima Trinidad. (I believe you were off on a trek to the castle?) In my novel in progress, the protagonist Patricia finds herself in Havana a few years before the Santisima Trinidad was launched. I can't resist the opportunity for her to see it in the beginning stages of construction.

M. C. Muir said...

What a great setting to incorporate into a story. Good luck with the next Patricia MacPherson story. I will look forward to reading it when it is published.

Nautique said...

Thanks for your article. But the Santísima Trinidad wasn't the largest ship in the world in 1802. She possibly had been the largest one between 1771 or 1778 and 1788, but from the 7th of August 1788 the largest ships in the world were the French 118-gun ships of the line, like the Commerce-de-Marseille (broken-up in 1802) or les États-de-Bourgogne (launched on the 8th of November 1790, and, renamed l'Océan, used until 1855). In 1802, one of these ships was used in France (l'Océan), and two copies in Turkey (the Fethiye and the Selimiye), two other ones being launched in France in 1803 (le Majestueux and l'Impérial).

May I link to show evidence ?

M. C. Muir said...

Thank you for your comment. I would appreciate the link/s as evidence to your statements.
And, would it be OK with you if I transferred your message to the body of my blogpost as an update.
Very interesting.

Nautique said...

According to Wikipedia in Spanish ⑴, the lenght of the Santísima Trinidad, as launched in 1769, was « 213 pies de Burgos y 8 pulgadas (61,40 m) », ≈ 201'5.6", so it is assumed there that a Burgos foot was 28,74 ㎝ ≈ 0.94291 English foot.

According to Wikipedia in English ⑵, « Here, the units of length are the Spanish Burgos foot (27.86 ㎝) and the SI metre (100 ㎝), respectively: length = 213 ⅔ (59.53); […] ».

When measuring lenghts over 200 feet, the difference between 27,86 ㎝ [0.91404 English foot] and 28,74 ㎝ [0.94291'] is large enough to lead to mistakes over 2 m, or 7'.

If the article Santísima Trinidad on Wikipedia in Spanish states that the Burgos feet was 28,74 ㎝ long, the article Antiguas Medidas Españolas ⑶ of Wikipedia in Spanish states that it was 27,8635 ㎝ long.

Anyway, « As the only ship with four gun decks, she [the Santísima Trinidad] was reputed to be the largest warship in the world, for which she was nicknamed El Escorial de los mares by the Spanish, until surpassed in sheer size by the new type French 120-gun ships such as Océan (1790) and Orient (1791). » ⑵

And, according to the article Océan-class ships of the line ⑷ of Wikipedia in English, from 1788 to the middle of the nineteenth century, France always had at least one of these ships, larger than the Santísima Trinidad was, so she was never the largest ship in the world after 1788.

Three 118 / 120-gun French ships of the line were launched before the fall of the king (10th of August 1792) ⑷ :
- the Commerce-de-Marseille, launched on the 7th of August 1788, taken in 1793 by the British Navy at Toulon, damaged in a storm in 1795, used as a store ship, later as a ponton, broken-up in 1802.
- the États-de-Bourgogne, launched on the 8th of November 1790, renamed the Côte-d'or in 1792, the Montagne in 1793, the Peuple in 1795, and the Océan the same year, stricken in 1855.
- the Dauphin-Royal, launched on the 20th of July 1791, renamed the Sans-Culotte in 1792 and the Orient in 1795. Flagship of François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers, exploded during the battle of the Nile (1st of August 1798).

Furthermore, according to a Turkish historian, Mr Emir Yener, quoted by a French website ⑸, two copies of the French 118-gun ships of the line were launched in Turkey, the Fethiye in 1798, and the Mesudiye in 1801, the last one serving during more than fifty years.

The Santísima Trinidad wasn't the largest ship in the world in 1802, if she had ever been, but she was one of the largest ones.

Anonymous said...

I think I can prove that, as launched, the Santísima Trinidad was, in lenght, a bit over 59 m or c. 190', her beam being 16,09 m without planking or 16,49 with planking (≈ 54'1.1") ; c. 2300 tons burthen (230,000 cubic feet in hold ≈ 6500 ㎥) ; displacement, 4511t (4511 SI ton ≈ 4439 long tons ≈ 4972 short tons) ; and that, from 1796, she was, in lenght, c. 61 m (200'), her beam being 16,16 m without planking or 16,56 with planking (≈ 54'3.8") ; c. 2400/2500 tons burthen (245,000 cubic feet in hold ≈ 6900/7000 ㎥) ; displacement, 4998t ( ≈ 4919 long tons ≈ 5510 short tons). The lenght of the French 118 / 120-gun ships of the line was c. 63 ½ m (over 208') ; beam, 16,24 m without planking, 16,70 m (54'9½") with planking ; c. 2750 tons burthen (≈ 7800 ㎥) ; displacement, 5032t (≈ 4953 long tons or 5547 short tons).

Some ten tons of painting were needed for such ships. Black painting was made from soot, lampblack, and currently used just over the waterline, sometimes above, rarely covering the whole sides. Yellow ochre was currently used for the upper sides, or to emphazise the gun-decks. Red ochre was usually used inside, and lime was used to whitewash some parts.

« About the external painting of foreign men-of-war at the time of Trafalgar, Captain William Stanhope Lovell, who took part in the action in the Neptune, gives some interesting particulars. Speaking of the ships of the allies, he says :
“Some of them were painted like ourselves with double yellow sides ; some with a single red or yellow streak; others all black; and the noble Santísima Trinidad, with four distinct lines of red, with a white ribbon between them. […] The Santa Ana […], was painted all black. […] It was remarked by (Nelson) that the enemy had the iron hoops round their masts painted black. Orders were issued by signal to whitewash those of his fleet, that, in the event of all the ensigns being shot away, his ships might be distinguished by their white masts and hoops.” » ⑹

With her high ouline and her four gun-decks emphazised in red and underlined in white, the giant Santísima Trinidad was for sure a very impressive sight.

Writing in English isn't easy to me. I'll make a new comment. Thank you very much for your patience !ño y construcción

⑵ & Construction.

⑶ Angelo Martini, Manuale di metrologia, Turin, Lœscher, 1883. page 321 ( :
Pié de Burgos = 0,278635 m (quoted in article Antiguas Medidas Españolas of Wikipedia in Spanish).



⑹ William Laird Clowes, Clements Robert Markham, The Royal Navy. A History from the Earliest Times to the Present, volume 5, pages 25 & 26, S. Low & Marston, London, 1897.

M. C. Muir said...

I commend your extensive knowledge of this vessel and thank you for your advice.
I have posted an update on the bottom of my blog and hope readers will take the time to read the information you supplied.
Many thanks for sharing your expertise.
Margaret Muir

Nautique said...

Many thanks to you, Mrs Muir ! I'm going to blush on reading your praises !

I consider your update as perfect. But I wish I can make a new comment to support my statements, hoping than, on Internet, everyone will find informations when needed. My aim is to make these data avalaible. If you regard as abusive my comment because of its lenght or because of the many links involved, you just have to delete it, I would understand your reasons.

It could be easy to explain it. In 1769 the Santísima Trinidad had almost the same dimensions than two other Spanish three-deckers (according to the Royal Navy, 194'3" × 54'3", 2457 tons burthen, & 190' × 54'3½", 2398 tons burthen). After being rebuilt her keel lenght and her beam, from which burthen is calculated, were hardly increased, and she had been lenghtened by 6 Burgos feet and 4 inches, so her lenght could hardly be over 201'. Thus in all her dimensions she was smaller than the Océan-class ships of the line as measured by the Royal Navy.

But there is a possible mistake due to discrepancy on the Burgos foot. Yet it is possible to compare a Spanish ship to another one, and to have the British Navy for referee.

In 1769, the Santísima Trinidad tonnage was 4902 toneladas. Assumed as an « arqueo », or tons burthen, by many sources ⑺, it can be nothing else than her displacement. 4902 toneladas are equal to 4511t (SI).

Comparison between the Santísima Trinidad in 1769 ⑺ and the San Josef :
It's easy to have an idea of the size the Santísima Trinidad, as launched, would have had according to the British Navy's criteria, because a new class, of which 2 were launched (the Purísima Concepción [1778] & the San José [1783], the San José being taken by the British Navy), were almost as large as her.
- The San José, renamed the HMS San Josef, according to the British Navy ⑻ :
Lenght, 194'3" (59,21 m)
Keel, 156'11¼"
Beam (outside planking), 54'3" (16,54 m)
Tons burthen, according to the Royal Navy's formula :
(keel) × (beam)² ÷ 188 ≈ 2456.79 tons burthen
- According to the Spanish Navy ⑼ :
Lenght, 213 Burgos feet ; or 9 inches shorter than the Santísima Trinidad, which lenght according to the same criteria would thus have been c. 194'3" + ⅔ × 0.91404' (or 0.94291', depending on the lenght assumed for a Burgos foot) ≈ 194.859'' ≈ 59,39 m (or 194.88' ; the difference is so small that I'll consider only the first figure in further calculations).
Keel, 193 pies 10 pulgadas, so the Santísima Trinidad's keel, 11 pies and 5 pulgadas shorter, would have had a lenght of some 156'11¼" + [(182 + 5 ÷ 12) − (193 + 10 ÷ 12)] × 0.91404 ≈ 146.883'
Beam (inside planking), 57 pies 11 pulgadas so the Santísima Trinidad's beam, 57 pies 9 pulgadas, would be equal to 54'3" − (2 ÷ 12 × 0.91404) ≈ 54.098' ≈ 16,49 m
Tons burthen (Royal Navy's formula) :
146.883 × 54.098² ÷ 188 ≈ 2290 tons burthen ≈ 6500 ㎥ in hold.

Comparison between the Santísima Trinidad in 1769 ⑺ and the Salvador del Mundo :
Same calculations from the British Navy's measurments ⑽ and the Spanish Navy's measurments ⑾ ⑿ of the Santa Ana-class three-deckers, to which the Salvador del Mundo belonged.
Result :
Lenght, 193.351' ≈ 58,93 m
Keel lenght, 151.469'
Beam, 54.063' ≈ 16,48 m
c. 2360 tons burthen ≈ 6700 ㎥

❋ As she was in 1769, the Santísima Trinidad had a displacement of 4511t, and measurments by the British Nav would have been :
Lenght, c. 193 ~ 195' (c. 59 m)
Beam (outside planking), c. 54'1" (16,48 m)
Tons burthen, c. 2250 ~ 2400 (some 6400 ~ 6800 ㎥)

Nautique said...

Comparison between the Santísima Trinidad in 1805 ⑿ and the San Josef :
Same calculations from the British Navy's measurments ⑻ and the Spanish Navy's measurments ⑼ of the San José-.
Result :
Lenght, 201.106' ≈ 61,30 m
Keel lenght, 147.949'
Beam (outside planking), 54.326' ≈ 16,56 m
c. 2320 tons burthen ≈ 6600 ㎥

Comparison between the Santísima Trinidad in 1805 ⑿ and the Salvador del Mundo- :
Same calculations from the British Navy's measurments ⑽ and the Spanish Navy's measurments ⑾ ⑿ of the Santa Ana-class three-deckers.
Result :
Lenght, 199.599' ≈ 60,84 m
Keel lenght, 156.573'
Beam (outside planking), 54'3½" ≈ 16,55 m
C. 2455 tons burthen ≈ 7000 ㎥

❋ As she was in 1805, the Santísima Trinidad had a displacement of 4998t ⑿, and measurments by the British Navy would have been :
Lenght, 200 ~ 201' (c. 61 m)
Beam (outside planking), c. 54'4" (16,56 m)
Tons burthen, c. 2300 ~ 2500 (some 6500 ~ 7100 ㎥)

❋ According to the British Navy, the dimensions of the French 118 / 120-gun ships of the line were ⑻ :
Lenght 208'4" ≈ 63,50 m
Beam (outside planking), 54'9⅓" ≈ 16,70 m
2747 tons burthen
Displacement ⒀, 5032t (SI).

One of the larger ships in the world, the Santísima Trinidad was surpassed in sheer size, as asserted by Wikipedia in English, by the French 118 / 120-gun ships of the line. From 1788 and during dozens of years, there was always one of them in use (three in 1802 : the Océan ⒁ in France, the Fethiye and the the Mesudiye in Turkey).

Nautique said...

⑻ William Laird Clowes & Clement Robert Markham, The Royal Navy. A History from the Earliest Times to the Present, volume 4 ( ), London, Sampson Low & Marston, 1897, page 154.
- Océan-class (the Commerce-de-Marseille) :
Lenght, 208'4" ; keel lenght 172'⅛" ; beam, 54'9⅓". 2747 tons burthen.
- The San Josef :
Lenght, 194'3" ; keel lenght 156'11¼" ; beam, 54'3". 2457 tons burthen.

⑽ Brian Lavery, The Ship of the Line, volume 1, The Development Of The Battlefleet, 1650-1850, London, Conway Maritime Press, 1983.
- The Salvador del Mundo :
Lenght, 190' ; keel lenght, 152'11" ; beam,54'3½". 2398 tons burthen.

⑾ The keel lenght is 184 pies or 185 pies 10 pulgadas according to sources. I calculated from 184 pies.

⑿ Estado general del día 19 de Octubre 1805 on website in Spanish.
- The Santísima Trinidad :
Lenght, 220 pies 6 pulgadas
Keel lenght, 188 pies
Beam, 58 pies
5432 toneladas. It can be nothing but her displacement. 1 tonelada ≈ 0,92016t (SI). 5432 toneladas ≈ 4998t.
120 long guns, 16 howitzers
Broadside (long guns) :
16×36-pdr 17×24-pdr 18×12-pdr 9×8-pdr
1272 libras ≈ 1290 lb ≈ 585 ㎏
Howitzers :
192 libras ≈ 195 lb ≈ 88 ㎏
- The Santa Ana and the Príncipe de Asturias (sisterships of the Salvador del Mundo) :
Lenght, 210 pies
Keel lenght, 184 pies
Beam, 58 pies

⒀ Amiral Édouard-Jacques Burgues de Missiessy, Moyens de procurer aux vaisseaux de différen[t]s rangs des qualités pareilles […], Paris, Imprimerie de la République, 1803, page 30 ; website of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (French National Library) :

« Déplacement à 5 pieds de batterie. … 5140 ton. »

« ton. » is for tonneau.
1 tonneau de poids ≈ 0,979012t (SI) ; 5140 tonneaux de poids ≈ 5032t.
120 long guns, 6 howitzers
Broadside (long guns) :
16×36-pdr 17×24-pdr 17×12-pdr 10×8-pdr
1268 livres ≈ 1368 lb ≈ 621 ㎏
Howitzers :
108 livres ≈ 117 lb ≈ 53 ㎏

⒁ Jean Boudriot, Les Vaisseaux de 74 à 120 canons, Éditions Ancre.

Model of the Océan in 1807 :

Website : Musée national de la marine (French National Navy Museum).

Thanks for all !


M. C. Muir said...

Thank you again, Nautique,
I hope some readers will investigate the links you have provided.
Perhaps you should include all this in a blog of your own.