The two Third Rates bear down on each other in a truly aggressive fashion. The Frenchman is determined to put up a spirited fight despite her "secret cargo" (see below):
As the ships pass "long range" shots are exchanged with the British hitting but not getting much from her high aimed rigging shots. The French were again ineffective, just plain missing their target. The Frenchman turns in truly heroic Gallic fashion to engage the British at medium range. Both sides elect to go for the hull after the disappointing results of "mast and rigging shots". The British destroy three French gun batteries (now down to ten from the original thirteen) while the Frenchman "gets lucky" with a critical hit knocking out the whole of the British main mast! A catastrophic blow as HMS Thunderer is left drifting slowly to starboard for two turns (see below):
The French shark (left of picture below) menacingly maneuvers to the stern of HMS Thunderer as she is haplessly busy cutting away her fallen rigging and mast. The French captain is busily ordering a boarding party to be formed with his marine contingent and spare crew (see below):
But what is this? The French helmsman shows his inexperience. With what little propulsion left available to HMS Thunderer, the Royal Navy elite crew put it to good use (or was it just French over confidence) and Le Franklin receives a shattering bow rake of "double shot" at short range. This wipes out another three gun batteries and worse still a critical hit on the helm is received. Le Franklin sails on straight for two turns (see below):
This means the faster French ship crashes into the slower Royal Navy ship despite frantic last minute application of the helm (see below):
This means another section of the rules can be tested as a furious boarding action ensues. The French have an initial advantage in men, but quality counts in favour of the British. In addition the British rake Le Franklin one more time before the boarding takes place off. The British (led by their captain in true Nelsonic fashion) repulse the Frenchman (see below):
The battle ebbs and flows but once the British gain the upper hand the outcome in inevitable. The Frenchman strikes her colours as a shadowy figure (of the Republic) is seen attempting to burn 'secret papers' in the Captain's cabin of the Le Franklin (which as per true life will become the future HMS Canopus).
The rules were Action Under Sail (4th Edition): Rules for Naval Warfare 1756-1815.