The Hermione, a handmade replica of French general Marquis de Lafayette’s 18th century frigate, is expected to draw international attention at this summer’s Tall Ships event as it sails its maiden voyage from France to the United States.
And one of ship’s stops this Fourth of July weekend is Greenport.
The Hermione’s original voyage in 1780 represented the pivotal turning point during America’s fight for independence as Lafayette came to Gen. George Washington’s aid during the war with news of French support and troops, according the American Friends of the Hermione-Lafayette, a New York City nonprofit group organizing the Hermione’s tour this summer.
The Hermione is a “145-foot, 32-gun, three-masted frigate,” according to a New York Times article, and was created with “200-year-old methods of boat-building.”
“But the most serious problem by far has been the shortage of mature oak trees, with just the right natural bends in their trunks, needed to form the wishbone-shaped ribs and curved beams and planking of the boat,” the article states. “For authenticity, the builders decided to use only oak from trees in France, and have had to trek through forests as far away as the royal domains of Versailles and Fontainebleau.”
Greenport Business Improvement District president Peter Clarke said Thursday he anticipates the Hermione will make this year’s Tall Ship’s event bigger than the last one held in 2012, which was a two day event over Memorial Day weekend that drew 60,000 people to the village.
This year, Tall Ships will be four days over the Fourth of July weekend, from July 4-7. Hermione will be in Greenport on July 6.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Mr. Clarke said about the Hermione’s visit during the BID’s meeting Thursday. “It gives a level of international exposure to Greenport, as well as an educational opportunity about something that is uniquely historic about the relationship between these two countries.”
Here is the order of Hermione’s visit: Yorktown, Va.; Washington, D.C.; Annapolis, Md.; Baltimore, Md.; Philadelphia, Pa.; New York, N.Y.; Greenport, N.Y.; Boston, Mass.; and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Greenport BID watched the following video to see how the Hermione was constructed.