The name ‘Reale’ indicates that the Galley belonged to the King of France; also from 1526 the admiralty vessel of the Captain of the French Galleys was called ‘Reale’. This model is based upon a typical galley from the end of the 18th century, sumptuously decorated by the famous sculptor Pierre Puget; the stern ornamentations, still conserved toady, are displayed in the Musee de la Marine, Paris.
This model is a reproduction of a vessel with a total length of 63m, 9.7m wide at the overdeck carrying 59 thwarts and 59 oars, each maneuvered by 7 men; there were therefore 413 oarsmen alone: a small part of them were slaves but the majority criminals condemned to life imprisonment. The Reale’s sole tactics in battle were the frontal attack or ramming.
To be used as a sailing vessel, the Reale was equipped with two lateen sails; before entering into battle, the sails were always furled and the lateen yard chained to the masts to prevent them striking the oarsman due to enemy gun-fire.
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 includes, was immersed.
In the 18th century, the sole possibility for a galley to enter into battle against a heavily armed ship was to take advantage of the smooth sea and choose its combat position, directing the bow on the enemy; due however to poor armament, it took a large number of galleys to defeat three medium-armed masts.
To bear this out, we recall that in 1651 the frigate Lion Couronne, with only 26 cannons withstood the attack of eleven galleys, while in 1684, the vessel Le Bon alone was victorious against 35 galleys. The battle of Matapan in 1717 was the last one in which galleys took an active part.
Corel ship model plans are historically accurate and contain detail instructions on building the ship model.