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The Drydocks

The hulls of the ships had to be periodically maintained and repaired

To avoid delicat handling and manoeuvring of the vessels the drydocks were used.

At high tide the ship entered into the drydocks where were excavated in the mud and later on masoned. At low tide the drydock was emptied with the help of a hydraulic machine that pumped the excess seawater out : the work on the hull could then begin.

At Rochefort 3 drydocks are still visible :

  • “La vieille forme” situated in the north part of the Arsenal designed by Francois le Vau
  • “La forme double”, which is also called the LouisXV designed by Pierre Arnoul
  • “ La forme Napoléon III”, situated behind the Porte de L’Arsenal.

The Napoléon III drydock was constructed between 1853 and 1861.

It was lengthened in 1900 for the ship called the “Dupleix” which measured 134m and was the last armoured cruiser to be built in Rochefort.