The Hermione, an historical journey! [fr]
In 1780, Marquis de Lafayette boarded on the Hermione, a sumptuous 216ft (66 meters) vessel armed with 34 canons, in order to join America to fight against English soldiers during the Independence war.
The Hermione-Lafayette association, in hopes of seeing the ship sail on the sea again, started a large-scale project in 1997 to make a full-size replica of the original vessel.
The shipyard selected was Rochefort, in Charente-Maritime, which was the original Hermione’s construction place. Construction was set to be completed in 2008, but the association had to realize that it would have to wait several more years before the new Hermione ship can sail.
But all these efforts are not without purpose : when she is ready, the new Hermione, also called “Liberty frigate” will sail-away towards United States coasts, in order to retrace the route taken by Lafayette in 1780. She will cross the Atlantic Ocean to Yorktown, Virginia, and then sail to various cities on the East coasts before returning to France.
Finally, it was in 2012, 15 years after the project started, that the Hermione was launched in the River Charente, in front of 65, 000 persons.
The last step of the construction was completed in spring 2014, with the installation of 19 different sails totaling 2,137 square meters. Some modern equipment have been added to the boat, such as an engine for security. The frigate is ready to start her long journey.
On September 7th, the Hermione made its first voyage. The vessel was steered by Commander Yann Cariou, accompanied by his crew of 69 people - of which, only 15 are professional sailors, the rest are volunteers.
In June 2015, the Hermione will begin its journey across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1780, it took Lafayette only 38 days to reach the United States’s Atlantic coast; however, the new Hermione is expected to take 2 months. The Hermione will be accompanied by a flotilla called the MedHermione. The small fleet of 15 private boats will dock in Florida in the spring of 2015, to part-take in the various galas in honor of this extraordinary project.
On Sunday, September 7th, the vessel conducted her first maneuvers towards Falmouth Bay, England. The southwest winds didn’t fail to be present, allowing the ship to pick up speed, even though the swell disturbed some volunteers. For some of the crewmembers, some days are necessary to adapt and, after a couple of months, its land-sickness that the sailors will have to deal with.
To follow their adventure, you can connect on www.marinetraffic.com or on various social network websites which provide many pictures and comments from the passengers.
On October 14, 2015 the association friends of Hermione Lafayette in America, which seeks to raise funds to prepare Hermione’s trip on American coast in 2015, organized a gala on the aircraft carrier Intrepid in New York. Distinguished guests were present as Henry Kissinger, Christine Lagarde and Charlie Rose, among 650 other guests.
However, this gala is far to be the only one. In fact, in 2015, several receptions to fundraise take place in Florida.
Discover below the next dates:
• February 18, 2015 - Grand Reception at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum
in Pinellas Park
• March 24, 2015 – Gala Dinner at a private club in Palm Beach
• April 12, 2015 – Gala Dinner at a private club in Naples
• April 15 to May 28, 2015 – Exhibit: Lafayette and the Hermione at the Collier
County Museum in Naples
• May 3, 2015 – Concert by the Jasper String Quartet at the Collier County
You can obtain information on this web address, and participate, thanks to your gifts, in this historical adventure.
It is in the hope that a large number of guests and donors are present that these events are organized, to be able to follow together Hermione’s incredible journey.
Browse the association website for more information !
Article published on November 19, 2014 and updated on Feb. 4, 2015.