Shipbuilding

The two Natière shipwrecks are remarkably well preserved, and on both, it is the starboard side that has survived. A comparative analysis of their architecture reveals both similarities and differences.
Both ships made widespread use – not surprisingly – of oak, although the Aimable Grenot also used a great deal of beech. Both feature solidly-built double frames with narrow frame spacing – perfectly suited for sailing around the western coast of France, where widely fluctuating tides call for solid hulls that can withstand the strain of being aground. Finally, both wrecks reveal the use of partly unbarked frames and architectural elements that were often eked out from whatever wood was available.
In addition to the widespread use of beech in the Aimable Grenot, the most noteworthy difference is the Dauphine's unique construction technique, characterised by a particularly slender keel and the use of chocks inserted beneath the keelson, between floortimbers. Sampling of the Dauphine's hull reveals that it was less solidly constructed than the Aimable Grenot but was, on the other hand, built with better-quality wood. The Aimable Grenot made extensive use of young and crooked timber, except for the riders, for which old-growth trees were required.

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