An identical replica of The Hermione, the beautiful frigate that celebrates French-American friendship, was in Mediterranean waters last week.

That was a beautiful sight to behold on a greyish Wednesday in Nice last week: an identical replica of The Hermione, the frigate that brought the Marquis de La Fayette to America in 1780 and participated in a naval blockade that cut off support to British troops during the decisive battle of Yorktown, was docked in the port of the capital of the French Riviera for an entire day  for all to admire!

With a width of 11 m and a length of 44.20 m, the three-masted ship has been painted in its original blue and gold colours and is adorned by a lion figurehead, carved by sculptor Andrew Peters. And while the first Hermione took a mere six months to build, its recent version required no less than 17 years to be completed, bringing together hundreds of craftspeople from around the world who used only 18th century shipbuilding techniques. Hundreds of thousands of individually forged nails, 2,200 square meters of sail, 1,000 pulleys and more than 2,000 oak trees have gone into producing this amazing replica, funded with more than €25 million in donations.

The frigate first set sail in 2015 in a voyage from the shipyard of Rocherfort, in the region of Poitou-Charentes to the east coast of America and now, in partnership with the OIF (an organization of countries having French as an official language), it travels the world in the hope of bringing people together in the spirit of unity, diversity, integration and freedom.

And just like the Statute of Liberty, the new Hermione perfectly celebrates the strong ties that exist between France and the USA, and a friendship that started when a nobleman convinced King Louis XVI to offer military and financial assistance to the young army of General Washington.

From the first moment, I heard the name of America, I loved it; from the instant, I knew it struggled for freedom, I was consumed with the desire to shed my blood for her. I will count the days I got the chance to serve it, everywhere and anytime, among the happiest days of my life”.

Marquis de La Fayette

 

another grey line

Lead image by Jp.sembelyOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

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