Fireworks and a presidential blessing saw the three-masted 213 foot (65-meter) frigate, Hermione, sail from La Rochelle for Boston, Massachusetts on 18 April.
The 25 million Euro (US$27 million) replica of her 18th century namesake is the culmination of an almost 20 year project using the same construction materials and methods used in the original. She was constructed in the same Rochefort shipyard.
In 1780 the original Hermione transported French troops, money and the Marquis de Lafayette to aid the Americans in their war of independence against the British, making the French the US’ “Oldest Ally”.
Having persuaded French King Louis XVI to help George Washington’s troops with military and financial support, in March 1780 Lafayette himself sailed in Hermione for colonial Boston to later play a pivotal part in the defeat of Britain’s General Cornwallis in 1783 at the Battle of Yorktown.