Bay Area Fundraiser: Repairing Hermione's Frigate | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

The duplicate of ship that first introduced La Fayette to the United States, The Hermione, is at present in dry dock in France for very important repairs and the San Francisco Bay Area is coming to its assist by elevating funds.

There are a number of well-known crusing ships in American historical past. Perhaps the beginning trio is the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria which had been the fleet of ships that Columbus used to find the Americas in 1492. Then there was the Mayflower that sailed from England to Plymouth, Massachusetts carrying Pilgrims which established the primary everlasting New England colony in 1620.

A comparatively unknown however essential historic ship was the Hermione. It was the French Royal Navy's frigate that turned well-known when it transported General La Fayette to the United States in 1780 to ship the information to George Washington that France would help the rebels within the American Revolutionary War with a squadron of ships and troopers. The Hermione turned often known as “La Fayette’s Frigate of Freedom.”

A duplicate of the Hermione at Chateau La Fayette in Chavaniac, Haute-Loire © Martha Sessums

The Hermione can also be famend for taking part in a pivotal function within the Revolutionary War. While ready for the French fleet to reach in Newport, Rhode Island, the ship patrolled the japanese coast the place it encountered a number of British warships and its crew fought valiantly. For two years, the Hermione continued as a part of the French fleet battling the British to escort convoys and ferrying artillery and provides, together with gunpowder for the Siege of Yorktown. She returned to France in 1782 on the finish of the warfare. Unfortunately, a yr later the Hermione ran aground off Le Croisic, France and sank.

But the historical past of Hermione was removed from over. In 1997, members of the Center International de la Mer began developing a duplicate of the unique Hermione in Rochefort, France, together with the help of varied French/American organizations such because the French Heritage Society. Born once more 235 years after the unique Hermione, the duplicate sailed to the United States in April 2015 and was welcomed in US waters together with Yorktown, Mount Vernon, Boston and New York.

Unfortunately, in 2021 a fungus attacked the picket hull making the ship fragile. A serious mission was launched to avoid wasting the Hermione which is now in dry dock close to Bayonne, France.

The Hermione in dry dock in Anglet © Association Hermione – La Fayette

This is the place the San Francisco Bay Area is coming to the rescue. The whole value of restore for the Hermione is 10 million euros, of which 5 million euros have already been raised. Several teams within the Bay Area French group have joined forces to sponsor a fundraiser on May 19, 2024 to assist full the restoration mission. The occasion will happen at Emerson Montessori School in Palo Alto from 9am to midday. It will characteristic a stay, digital convention with a number of of Hermione's restoration consultants from the dock in Bayonne. It will embrace a historical past of the ship and its well-known passenger La Fayette plus particulars of the army actions in the course of the Revolutionary War. It will even embrace a tour of the ship, particulars of the restore mission and a few boat mannequin demonstrations.

“When the Hermione Association and the French American Cultural Society issued a distress call to preserve this unparalleled vessel, we responded promptly,” mentioned Upi Struzak, President of Alliance Française Silicon Valley (AFSCV) which is a companion within the fundraising occasion. “This vessel holds significant symbolic value, commemorating a pivotal moment in history between the Kingdom of France and the birth of the United States.”

The fundraiser is formally sponsored by a number of teams within the Bay Area French group. These embrace French Heritage Society Northern California Chapter, the French American Cultural Societytea Consulate General of France in San Francisco and the Alliance Française Silicon Valley. Other Bay Area Alliance Française that help the fundraiser are Alliance Française of San Francisco, Alliance Française de Berkeley together with the Alliance Française in Santa Rosa (which is planning a fundraiser) and the Monterey Peninsula. Worldwide supporters embrace the Hermione-La Fayette Association and Friends of the Foundation of France USA. Other sponsors are Little pot, Hotel Enchante, Frenchery and the South Bay Model Shipwrights Club.

“The objective of the repair work is to have Hermione sailing again in early 2025 to conduct sea trials and train a new crew,” in accordance with Thomas Célérier, Co-Chair of the French Heritage Society Northern California Chapter and on the Board of Directors of AFSCV. “It will then sail to the US again in 2026 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the nation that the ship, France and La Fayette helped create.”

The Hermione in motion © Association Hermione – La Fayette

The Hermione restore mission is utilizing among the most competent contractors in France, together with the identical firm that’s at present repairing the roof of Notre-Dame in Paris, in accordance with Célérier. A complete of 40 sq. meters of strong wooden items should be changed. Stern repairs are almost accomplished however the bow work is ongoing. Current expertise is to make use of laminated items of wooden slightly than strong wooden as that’s simpler to form and extra immune to fungus.

“It's crucial for the public to take ownership of their heritage; it is a collective responsibility,” mentioned Struzak. “Each of us plays a role in safeguarding and cherishing our shared cultural legacy. . . (which) provides an opportunity to explore pages of history that are often overlooked and shrouded in silence.”

The restoration web site is open to the general public © Damien Roussel

Gilbert de Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, was a French aristocrat and army officer who joined the Continental Army led by George Washington. He served with distinction and in the midst of the warfare sailed again to France to foyer for French help, which was granted. Upon his return to America within the Hermione, he was given senior positions within the Continental military and performed an essential function within the Siege of Yorktown, a decisive battle within the warfare. Upon returning to France, La Fayette turned a key determine within the French Revolution, impressed by the American Revolution. He is well known as a hero in each France and the United States.

If France Today readers are curious about supporting the restore work of the Hermione and can’t attend a fundraiser, tax deductible donations might be finished by the Friends of the Foundation de France USA right here.

Lead picture credit score: The US Navy welcomes the Hermione

Your e-mail handle won’t be revealed. Required fields are marked *

Bay Area Fundraiser for Repairing the Hermione, La Fayette’s Frigate of Freedom