History arrives at Annapolis City Dock June 16, 2015, when the tall ship L’Hermione pulls in for a two-day visit before heading to Baltimore. L’Hermione is a replica of the Marquis de Lafayette’s 18th-century ship, the Hermione, which sailed from France to America in 1780 with aid aboard to support America’s fight for independence from the British.
It is considered the largest and most authentically built tall ship in the last 150 years, according to the website. It set sail from France in April and is traveling up the East Coast of the U.S. this summer.
Official activities during the Annapolis visit include:
- Welcome ceremony June 16, 10 a.m.-noon, with French and American officials.
- A parade from the port to the Fallen French Soldiers Monument at St. Johns College, with a wreath-laying at the monument. This follows the welcoming ceremony.
- Public tours available 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 16 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 17 on a first come, first served basis.
- Community events 11 a.m.-7 p.m. June 16 and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. June 17 including shipbuilding and Colonial craft demonstrations; Lafayette re-enactments; and three afternoon concerts to include French and American seafaring songs, public sing-alongs and joint concerts with Oyster Boys.
- A panel exhibition at Annapolis City Dock.
In addition, the Annapolis Collection Gallery at 55 West St. is hosting a public celebration of “All Things French” with music, aperitif and hors d’oeuvres June 17, 7:30-9 p.m. Special guests Herve Blanche, mayor of Rochefort, France, and Jean-Francois Fountaine, mayor of LaRochelle, France, will attend. RSVP for the event to Katherine@AnnapolisCollection.com.
The 2015 voyage of L’Hermione culminates 17 years of reconstruction of the ship and sea trials.
In April 2015, the Hermione set sail for the U.S. from the mouth of the River Charente, in Port des Barques, where Lafayette boarded on March 10, 1780. The ship landed in Yorktown, Va., June 5.
The Hermione is constructed almost entirely using 18th century ship-building techniques, according to Miles Young, president of Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, with 2,000 oak trees used in the 400,000 hand-sculpted pieces for the hull.
“We are inspired by the voluntary 72-member crew, one-third women, whose average age is 27, and most of whom gave up their ‘real life’ to become steeped in the history of the vessel that changed the course of America’s war of independence,” Young said in a statement. “They will tell the story to visitors as 18th and 21th century participants of these historic and monumental undertakings.”
For more information, visit the Lafayette’s L’Hermione Voyage 2015 website.