IN FALL 2012, the replica of the famous frigate Hermione, the ship that brought the Marquis de Lafayette to America in 1780, will be launched for test sails off the coast of France. If all goes well, the planned crossing of the Atlantic Ocean will occur in 2013.
The project, sponsored by the Hermione-La Fayette Association, began in 1997 in the dry dock at Rochefort, France. The “new” Hermione has been built using the same methods, components, and materials as the original. The goal was to reconstruct the ship—more than 200 feet long, carrying three masts and a sail surface of 16,000 square feet, with a hull entirely made of oak —as authentically as possible, while taking into account modern statutory constraints concerning seaworthiness.
Although plans are not final, cities along the American East Coast under consideration for ports of call include Annapolis, Baltimore, Boston, Hampton, Newport, New York, Philadelphia, and Portland. Then the ship will return to the quay of Rochefort and be opened to visitors there.