La Fayette’s Hermione Sails to the US - Ports of Call Dates Announced
On April 18, the replica of La Fayette’s Hermione will set sail for its transatlantic crossing to Yorktown, Virginia from Port-des Barques, at the mouth of the Charente River near Rochefort in the Poitou-Charentes region, where both frigates were built. A statement from Friends of Hermione-La Fayette in America says that the voyage, which will take an estimated 27 days using a crew of 72 volunteer men and women sailors, is the beginning of a tour of 12 North American ports commemorating the frigate’s role in the American Revolutionary War.
The Hermione, the Frigate of Freedom, originally delivered the Marquis de La Fayette in 1780 to General Washington with full French aid. The united forces are credited with having turned the tide of the American Revolutionary War. The authentically reconstructed Hermione, 17 years in the re-making, will sail 3,819 miles across the Atlantic to land in Yorktown on June 5th, before sailing up the coast to 11 additional iconic ports for an unprecedented two months of events. Visitors can join the festivities at any point along the route and enjoy tours on board or pier-side where activities are scheduled, including, historic shipbuilding crafts demonstrations, interactive conversations with the young volunteer sailors, and a lineup of cultural activities like costumed performances by seasoned re-enactors, concerts of period and contemporary music and food and craft exhibitions.
The Hermione’s return voyage includes stops at these ports: Yorktown, Mount Vernon, Alexandria/Washington D.C., Annapolis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Greenport (New York), Newport, Boston, Castine (Maine) and finally Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. As a museum, the tall ship will be open to the public for sailor-guided tours, with a full program of educational initiatives, cultural activities and events pier-side and beyond in each port.
Additionally, traveling photography exhibit covering the 17 years of the Hermione’s reconstruction will accompany the frigate and will be free to the public in each port with companion exhibits at The New-York Historical Society, the Museum of the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C., and The Athenaeum in Boston. Philadelphia will host a recreation of the meal aboard the Hermione that the Continental Congress enjoyed with Washington and La Fayette at City Tavern, the oldest tavern in America.
“This summer’s event has been a long time in the making but seems a most relevant time with the developments in the world today,” said Miles Young, President of Friends of Hermione-La Fayette in America, Inc., and Worldwide Chairman & CEO of Ogilvy and Mather, in a statement released by the organization. “Not only is the Hermione a remarkable feat of precision and passion, she is a new symbol of the ‘Anything is Possible’ motto held dear by the Marquis de La Fayette,” he elaborated. The Hermione is constructed almost entirely using 18th Century ship-building techniques: 2,000 oak trees had to be found for 400,000 hand-sculpted pieces for the hull, techniques had to be reinvented, forges re-kindled and artisans from all over the world enlisted. “Dignitaries and enthusiasts are making plans to welcome the Hermione in their respective cities,” added Judi Kilachand, the Executive Director of the Friends Hermione-La Fayette in America, Inc. “We are also excited that Tall Ships America, who will meet the Hermione as she approaches Philadelphia, will accompany the Hermione from Philadelphia to Castine.”
The Hermione will be in New York harbor four days through July 4th.