Faulknor now took Blanche to stand off the harbour of Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, where she was joined by another frigate, HMS Quebec. Within Pointe-a-Pitre lay a French frigate, the Pique, commanded by a Captain Conseil. He resisted the urge to come out while two British frigates waited for him offshore and he remained under the protection of the harbour’s shore batteries. Only after the Quebec departed on 2nd January did he emerge, but for the next two days he cruised back and forth under the shelter of the shore guns until he could be sure that the Quebec was not lurking close by.
The Blanche was still on station however, and not inactive. At midday on the 4th she captured an American schooner bringing a cargo of wine and brandy from Bordeaux – a valuable prize that Faulknor sent away with a prize crew. Still concerned that the Quebec might be nearby, Conseil made no move to recapture the prize. By midnight however, when the Quebec had not reappeared, Conseil finally decided to take his ship out to engage the Blanche. The night was a bright one but it is unclear why he decided to trigger what must be an engagement in semi-darkness.
As she advanced the Pique lay to windward of the Blanche –the most advantageous situation as regards freedom of manoeuvre. They passed on opposite tacks and each fired an ineffective broadside. The Blanche then went about and was now sailing parallel to the Pique and gradually overhauling her. Conseil let her come up till she was within musket-shot of his starboard quarter, then threw his helm his helm over, with the intention of crossing Blanche’s bows and raking her as he did – a measure which, if successful, might have decided the action. Faulknor recognised the danger and the Blanche bore away also. This brought both vessels before the wind, at close range, broadside to broadside.