In March 1780, a 12-pounder Concorde class frigate of the French navy named Hermione brought the Marquis de Lafayette to the United States so he could rejoin and help lead the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.
More than two centuries later, a small group of people came together in southwest France with an idea — to build an exact replica of the tall ship and reprise Lafayette’s voyage by sailing Hermione from France to the U.S. East Coast.
Construction began in 1997 and, as the video shows, on July 6, 2012, Hermione — its hull completed — was launched on the Charente River as 65,000 people watched. It was placed in its new hold the next day and the work of installing its masts began.
The original group’s dream is now only a year away from being realized. Next April, Hermione is expected to leave from the mouth of the Charente in Port des Barques, as Lafayette did, and sail on a 27-day voyage to Yorktown, Va.
A traveling exhibition is expected to accompany Hermione along the Eastern Seaboard as the ship’s first voyage honors and reaffirms the historically close relationship between the two countries.