A detailed wood replica of the Hermione, an 18th Century French warship that was instrumental in defeating the British during the American Revolution, has harbored in New York City. The ship is a copy of the original which carried General Lafayette to the aid of the colonies in 1780 as they battled England.
The 213-foot long replica of the Hermione, which required lumber from 3,000 oak trees, carried its crew of 80 in period dress into New York City for the Fourth of July weekend, following visits to Baltimore and Philadelphia. More than 400,000 individual wood and metal components when into the project.
A cannon fired a salute to celebrate the occasion, though most of the cannons on board are dummies. While the original 18th century crew numbered more than 240, the replica Hermione's 80 does include a carpenter.
The project began 17 years ago by an international non-profit established for the project. Sponsors include Air France, Michelin and Moet Hennessy, as well as U.S> sponsors incuding the Daughters of the American Revolution. The committee effort was chaired by Henry Kissinger.
The Hermione is a 12-pounder Concorde class frigate - the 12 referring to the size of its 24 guns. It was completed in Rochefort by the Asselin organization in 2014. It is a reproduction of the 1779 Hermione which achieved fame by ferrying General Lafayette to the United States in 1780 to allow him to rejoin the American side in the American Revolutionary War.
"Twenty years ago, a small group dreamed of reconstructing an exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th-century ship, and the project was launched. Today, the majestic vessel is the largest and most authentically built Tall Ship in the last 150 years," says the group of its effort. "The Hermione set sail from France, launching an adventure that comes to the USA in the summer of 2015 for an unprecedented voyage."
While traditional construction methods were used, modern power tools were substituted for the period tools on some jobs, according to Wikipedia. While the original ship 11 months to build, this project consumed nearly two decades.
English plans of a sister ship, Concorde were used. The cost was estimated to be $22 million. Original plans were modified for strength and safety: planks were bolted rather than pegged, the intent being to avoid movement during the long period of construction. Mast sections were fastened with glue rather than metal hoops used in the 18th century, to avoid water penetration. Other concessions to modern requirements are a generator for lighting; synthetic fabric to make the sales easier to haul; and an engine for use in safety maneuvers.
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