Fourth-rate, 64 guns, Artésien Class - Protée 1772
The Artésien class included five French 3rd rate ships of the line, built at Brest to a design of Joseph-Louis Ollivier. They were armed with 64 cannons and had a designed crew of 570-580 men. They were armed with 26 24–Pounder guns in the lower deck, 28 12–Pounder guns in the upperdeck, and 10 6–Pounder guns in the quarterdeck and the forecastle.
Protée was built in 1772 and designated as flagship of a convoy directed to India, departing with other ships as escort, transporting troops and ammunition. On 23 February, off Spain, the convoy met Rodney's fleet; Duchilleau, commander in charge, tried to lure the British by continuing on the same bearing, while the convoy escaped, escorted by the other ships. The British fleet chased and captured Protée.