Wednesday, June 3, 2015

L' Hermoine


The frigate Hermione, a witness of a golden age of French naval construction

In 1778, in Rochefort’s arsenal, the Hermione started to be built on a construction hold near the Corderie Royale. Over 210 feet from stern to bow, with 16.000 square feet of sail spread over 3 masts, the Hermione was built according to plans by the engineer Chevillard Aîné With the Courageuse, the Concorde and the Fée, the Hermione was part of a group of 4 frigates built in Rochefort. Belonging to the category of so-called light frigates, characterized by their speed and agility, the Hermione was fitted out with 26 cannons shooting 12-pound cannonballs, hence its name “frigate of 12”. With a length of 1732 and a width of 433 the frigate took 11 months of work for one hundred carpenters, blacksmiths, drillers, caulkers and convicts for a total of more than 35,000 days of work.

L’Hermione par Rossel de Cercy
 Hermione painting by Rossel de Cercy

A ship forever linked to the legend of La Fayette

“From the first moment I heard the name of America, I loved it; from the instant I knew it struggled for freedom, I was consumed with the desire to shed my blood for her I will count the days I got the chance to serve it, everywhere and anytime, among the happiest days of my life.” La Fayette
Summer 1776, the break is accomplished between England and the « insurgents », the supporters of the independence of English colonies in North America.

In January 1779, back from America where he had volunteered to serve the American cause, Gilbert Motier, Marquis of La Fayette, a French gentleman of 21, tried his best to obtain the official support of France.

He managed to convince King Louis XVI and his general staff to offer military and financial assistance to the troops of General Washington.

On March 21, 1780, the young major general La Fayette boarded the Hermione. He went to fight alongside the American insurgents who were struggling for their independence.

He landed in Boston after a 38 day crossing and met General Washington to announce the impending arrival of French reinforcement.

18 months later, the American insurgents, whom La Fayette had joined, won decisive victories, first in Chesapeake Bay, then in Yorktown, with the support of French troops led by Rochambeau and de Grasse.

And how the reproduction was built:

The original ship stats:
Career (France) French Navy Ensign French Navy Ensign
Name: Hermione
Builder: Rochefort
Laid down: March 1778
Launched: 28 April 1779
In service: June 1779
Fate: Ran aground and wrecked due to a navigation error of her pilot at Croisic on 20 September 1793
General characteristics
Class and type: Concorde class 12-pounder frigate
Displacement: 550 tons; 1160 ton burthen
Length: 44.2 m (145 ft)
Beam: 11.24 m (36.9 ft)
Draught: 5.78 m (19.0 ft)
Complement: 255
Armament: 32 guns:

The reproduction:

Career (France) French Navy Ensign
Name: Hermione
Ordered: 1995
Builder: Asselin at Rochefort
Laid down: 1997
Launched: 6 July 2012
General characteristics
Class and type: Concorde class 12-pounder frigate
Displacement: 1,166 tons
Length: 65 m (213 ft)
Beam: 11.24 m (36.9 ft)
Height: 177 feet
Draught: 5.78 m (19.0 ft)
Propulsion: Sails, auxiliary engine
Sail plan: full-rigged ship
Complement: 72
Armament: 32 guns:[1]


  1. Neat videos.
    The whole thing reminds me of a day a couple of years ago at the beach. I am standing there looking at the water and a frigate bird flys by. Funny wings, forked tail and all. There are a couple of women there that just looked like visitors. So I point out the frigate bird to them. They tell me to watch my language. I explained to them that a frigate was a French warship. And a sea bird.
    Good thing a boobie didn't fly by. I would have really upset them. :-)
    Time to quote Bugs again, what a couple of maroons.

    1. LOL! Probably thought 'frigate' was a naughty adjective and if a boobie did fly by, you would have been slapped! :o)

  2. If I have this figured out, Wednesday naval history, Thursday gears, Friday night steam. Interesting.

    1. Close .. but I change my mind a lot (except for FNS). Tune in tomorrow - got a good one!