The Age of Sail Recaptured: Model Maritime History in Mauritius

The Age of Sail Recaptured: Model Maritime History in Mauritius

Gazing at model replicas of the HMS Victory and the Bucentaure one conjures up the naval Battle of Trafalgar; breathing the toxic gun smoke, gagging on the smell of gun powder, deafening booms of cannon fire echoing, and the horror of watching men dying agonizing deaths on deck with limbs being blown off or jumping into the raging sea to escape a burning ship.  The model of the Confiance, paints a canvas of the corsair Robert Surcouf cruising the Indian ocean like a shark preying on British ships, heavily laden with cargos of treasures; and then there is the Vasa, dubbed the Ship of Fools that sunk before on maiden voyage. Such are the tales on exhibition in the showroom of Historic Marine, a workshop on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, that captures the Age of Sail in the exact scale reproduction of famous historical vessels.

The Soleil Royal leading an armada of model ships (Image: Historical Marine)

The Soleil Royal leading an armada of model ships (Image: Historical Marine)

French Corsair Robert Surcouf’s Confiance

Robert Surcouf (1773 –1827) defied his parents’ wish for him to become a priest and turned to privateering instead. The Indian Ocean became this corsair’s private playground where he captured more than 40 ships between 1789 and 1808, before retiring from the sea to set up a successful commercial shipping enterprize.


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