With champagne, fireworks and a presidential blessing, a painstakingly built replica of the frigate once used to bring French troops and funds to American revolutionaries is setting sail for Bostonreports the Associated Press.
Saturday night's celebratory sendoff for the $27 million Hermione seeks to retrace the 213-foot frigate's trans-Atlantic journey in 1780, when its namesake under Marquis de Lafayette's command helped to lay the foundation of French-American relations.
Lafayette persuaded French King Louis XVI to provide military and financial support to George Washington's troops. Lafayette set sail on March 21, 1780, arrived 38 days later in Boston, and played an important role in the revolutionaries' ultimate defeat of Britain.
… The ship is the fruit of nearly two decades of brainstorming, fundraising and toil. Using captains' logs and manuscripts from the era, maritime experts and historians ensured that workers used the same construction materials and methods as those used to build the original.
… Volunteer crew members will sail the frigate, with "Hermione" carved across its stern, across the Atlantic.
…The relationship born of Lafayette's journey has also been lasting. Even in times of modern diplomatic tensions, American presidents routinely refer to France as "our oldest ally."
"If it hadn't been for that French intervention at that time," [said Miles Young, president of the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America], "the war of independence probably wouldn't have been won."