No matter how the two names get mangled by anglophone mouths on VHF, how they’re written is Jeanne d’Arc (like the girl general).  She’s a R97, French cruiser nearing retirement at 50.  To put that into perspective, when she was launched, Charles DeGaulle was President of France.  Although scheduled to retire this year, Jeanne d’Arc is no slouch;  almost exactly two years ago, she was involved in the recapture of the three-masted, nearly 300′ loa yacht Le Ponant from Somali pirates.

To reflect pronunciation, call her John Dark . . . .  Jane Dark even, if you want to be technical.    Along with her is Courbet, stealth frigate F712.  I thought she was named for the painter, but –instead–her namesake is a French admiral of sea/river battles referred to as the Sino-French War, fighting along the coast in places like Gulf of Tonkin and the eastern China coast off places like Ningbo and  the Pescadores Islands.

Like “John Dark,”   “Coor Bay” has also tangled with Somali pirates.  In September 2008, F712 recaptured French yacht Carré d’As IV from pirates as they headed with it and two hostages into Eyl, which was featured on tugster around that time.  The deck gun here is a 100mm GIAT;  compare with the 76mm Otobreda depicted in the blog with the best maritime drawings in the world, IMHO.

John Dark and  Coor Bay are here in peace;  let’s celebrate them.. If you see a French sailor around town today, wearing a uniform like

like these, smile . . . or say something like “sa leeeeooo” or “bein’ ve new”  as they gallivant  bit around our fair city on R n R.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  They were taken in somehow appropriate twilight.

Unrelated but also involving a sidekick: Jodie Nelson and escort.

Also unrelated though similar, see the blog of USCGC Escanaba here.

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