The REALE DE FRANCE was one of the magnificent French galleys during the reign of Louis XIV in 17 century. The "REALE" in the name points out that she belonged to the king personally. The ship was decorated by the sculptor Pierre Puget. Some of the stern ornaments are shown in the Musée de la Marine in Paris, which also holds the original plans and many documents about the ship.
A large part of the reconstruction is based on old original plans, integrated, where necessary, from other securely reliable sources. The 1:60 scale model is a reproduction of a vessel with a total length of 63m, 9.70 m wide at the over deck carrying 59 thwarts and 50 oars, each maneuvered by 7 men; there were therefore 413 oarsmen alone: small part of them were slaves, but the majority criminals condemned to life imprisonment, while the “heard oarsmen”, i.e. the men at the end of the oar handles, were regularly paid volunteers. The rest of the crew consisted, besides the officers at the stern, in a galley sergeant and two helpers (who, from the midway, whipped the oarsmen to urge them on) and a variable contingent of soldiers and gunners, located on the forecastle and along the arbalesters.
The arms consisted in 5 pieces in bronze, concentrated to bow under the forecastle on special sliding-carriages and by 11 swivel guns dislocated on the arbalesters; to modify the traverse of the forecastle guns, the ship had to move: this clearly denotes the limits of use of the galleys, their sole tactics being the frontal attack of ramming. To be used as a sailing vessel the “REALE” was equipped with two lateen sails; before entering into battles, the sails were always furled and the lateen yard chained to the masts to prevent them striking the oarsmen due to enemy gunfire. As it was very low on the waterline, the covering was often flooded, and sailing under strong wind, the entire part affected, thwarts and rowers included, was immersed.