With only 4 stops along the Atlantic Coast, the 2015 Tall Ships Challenge was known mostly this summer for the special guest appearance of the Tall Ship L’Hermione from France. The Tall Ships Challenge 2015 brought this fantastic voyage of the French tall ship into the limelight, as the replica visited all 4 ports with her fellow tall ships and added another 5 Atlantic ports to her own itinerary.
Hermione is an exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th-century ship also called the Hermione. Today, the majestic vessel is the largest and most authentically built Tall Ship in the last 150 years. The Hermione has set sail in France, launching an adventure that comes to the USA in the summer of 2015 for an unprecedented voyage. Her route is similar to the route taken by Lafayette when he came to the States in 1780 to meet George Washington. She came ashore from her transatlantic voyage with 80 sailors, making landfall on June 5 in Yorktown in Virginia, where US troops led by George Washington and French soldiers accompanied by General Lafayette scored a decisive victory over the British in 1781.
“The Hermione, the ship that reunited Lafayette and Washington and sealed our freedom, sails again for America,” trumpets the website promoting the reconstruction of the epic journey. Lafayette’s willingness to support the American Revolution was symbolized by his arrival on Hermione who sailed him to Boston, MA in only 38 days.
The project is the brainchild of a group of history and sailing enthusiasts who two decades ago embarked on the arduous task of recreating the vessel using only eighteenth-century shipbuilding techniques.
Not to be overshadowed by this great ship, the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series of international sailing races, cruises, and maritime festivals is organized by Tall Ships America in cooperation with Great Lakes, Atlantic and Pacific Coast port cities in the United States and Canada. This summer was the Atlantic Coast’s turn at hosting the 2 month long event, with great interest in the 4 ports of call, as is typical when these majestic ships sail into town.
If you live near Portland, Maine, Greenport, NY or Portland and Castine, Maine you might have had the opportunity to see these ships up close for yourself. They are now onto their other summer sailing and sail training, but this video from the Greenport, NY stop shows the beauty a crowd of tall ships lends to any dock or pier.
And if you’re near Boston this weekend, you can tour America’s largest tall ship, The USCG Cutter Eagle. At 295 feet in length, the Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the American flag and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service. She will be docked at Pier 4 at the Charleston Navy Yard as part of the 2015 cadet summer training deployment.
EAGLE will be open for free public tours:
TODAY! – Saturday: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Did you catch L’Hermione on her US tour? How about any of the other tall ships? Let us know in the comments below!