Clive Cussier, who wrote the best-selling book "Raise the Titanic," is financing a project to recover John Paul Jones' frigate Bonhomme Richard.

The converted French merchant ship sank Sept. 24, 1979, about 3 1/2 miles off the east-central coast of England, one day after a successful battle with the British frigate Serapis.

Jones, famous for his mid-battle retort to the Serapis captain, "I have not yet begun to fight," is now honored as the father of the U.S. Navy.

Cussler said a 10-day sonar survey found two wreckage mounds, and a fisherman brought up a French musket dated 1775 from one of them. They second phase - positively identifying the wreck, making an archeological study and beginning salvage work - will start this summer. The recovery phase, to cost up to $150,000, is set for the summer of 1979, just before the 20th anniversary of Jones' victory.

"The wood of the Bonhomme Richard should have been gone a century ago, but the artifacts should still be there - the cannon, hardware, crew possessions," Cussler said. Everything recovered will be donated to the British Maritime Museum, Smithsonian Institution and French government. The Bonhomme Richard was partly financed by the French.