In 1707, Noël Piécourt, a Dunkirk shipowner, who had connections with Parisian businessmen, commissioned a squadron of four ships to explore the South Sea/China trade route. The fleet was put under the command of Benoît de Bénac, and included the Découverte, a 250-tonne, 28-gun frigate with a 127-man crew. Its captain was Michel Dubocage, then aged 31. As it happens, Dubocage's logbook has come down to us, and it offers a unique glimpse of life aboard a commercial trading frigate in the early 18th century. Day by day, it recounts the living conditions and events that occurred during the nine years that this extraordinary voyage lasted. Sadly, Dubocage's account-books, which record the captain's trade negotiations in both South America and China, have not survived. We know that it existed, since Dubocage makes several mentions in the logbook of his "trading journal".