Monday, July 6, 2015

French frigate Hermione

It's time for another ship "tour," this time of one you may have seen on the news, particularly if you live on the East coast of the United States. The Hermione, a detailed replica of the 32-gun frigate that carried General Lafayette from France to the fledgling United States in 1780, has been making a tour up our coastline.



I passed on seeing her in Baltimore so that I could go to Philadelphia for its full tall ships festival, which may or may not have been a good idea. There were far more tall ships to see, but it was extremely crowded, and rained most of the day, so I have a rather dreary set of photos.


They really strove for accuracy in the Hermione, so I was disappointed that you could not go down to the lower decks of the ship. I'm not sure if they sought the same degree of accuracy there, as I'm sure there are a lot of contrivances required to actually sail a ship of this size across the Atlantic under modern maritime regulations. But I've been seeking historically accurate captain's cabins, and they are not easy to find fully set up -- HMS Victory's is, but it's of a much larger size than one would find on a frigate.


The thing that really got me when it comes to accuracy is the smell. Hermione smells exactly like HMS Victory (who will get her own tour here, soon enough), so I had no doubt that there is proper tar in her rigging!


But really, my limited pictures are not nearly enough to do this ship justice. For that, you need to see her under sail. This CBS Sunday Morning video does a great overview of the story of the ship, and also shows a bit of the process of building her, using traditional techniques, in addition to plenty of great sail footage:


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