The replica of the frigate Hermione, an ambitious project
In 1927, the Naval Dockyard of Rochefort has just definitively closed. After the Second World War, it is very damaged and then forgotten for years.
In the 1970s, the city of Rochefort decides to restore the maritime dockyard. The Corderie Royale, rehabilitated in 1985, regains its majestic looks.
Can you believe that for two and a half centuries, 550 ships were made in the Naval Dockyard of Rochefort. So why not rebuild one of these ships ?
Research in the port's historical records are launched to find a boat that was once built in Rochefort. This boat will be the mythical Hermione, the frigate that transported La Fayette towards the war of independence of the United States ...
But there is one problem... where did the construction drawings of the ”12-pounder frigate” go ? (it had 26 cannons that would shoot 12-pound cannonballs)
Ironically! In Greenwich, Great Britain, drawings for Hermione's sister, the Concorde are found and can thankfully be used to rebuild the frigate.
The challenge of the construction site of the Hermione's replica
Remember, it was in the spring of 1997 that the central keel of the 18th century ship was laid.
No fewer than 2.000 selected oak trees in the French forests, 1000 pulleys, 400,000 pieces of wood and metal, about 25 km of rigging rope and 2131 m2 of sails will be necessary to build this frigate.
With a width of 11 m and a length of 44.20 m, it is equipped with 3 masts. The ship consists of 3 decks for maneuvers, artillery, meals and the rest area of the sailors.
On April 18, 2015, the emotion is palpable. Thousands of spectators salute the Hermione, from Rochefort to the estuary, to the Aix Island for the frigate's travel to the United-States...
On that day, this "collective masterpiece", as President François Hollande underlined, reconnects with its past and sails in the footsteps of La Fayette.