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Tall ship Hermione docked in Alexandria | News

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Tall ship Hermione docked in Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA9) -- A very large piece of art called L'Hermione will be docked in Old Town Alexandria until Friday.

Hermione is a replica of the 18th century French war ship that brought the French to American shores. The ship and its journey to Virginia commemorate the historic voyage that helped win the Revolutionary War.

"This is an incredible experience," said U.S. Navy Member Victoria Stack, "if you understand maritime history, the fact that it's Napoleonic-era recreation, these things used to cross the oceans all the time. We don't do that anymore so it's an adventure I could only dream to be on."

With cannons, around 225 different ropes and some 2,600 square yards of linen, the 177 foot-long ship is an exact replica of the war ship that left France in 1780 carrying the Marquis de Lafayette. As history goes, Lafayette persuaded King Louis the XVI to provide George Washington with military and financial support, which helped Washington and his troops win the Revolutionary War.

The making of the replica took $27 million and nearly two decades to complete. The architects of the ship followed the era's captain logs and manuscripts to a "T." Only the best Oak was used.

Alexandria's Mayor, William D. Euille, Senator Mark Warner, French Defense Attache, Brigadier General Vincent Cousins were among the many who welcomed Hermione at ceremony held Wednesday morning. It was a celebration of not only the ship's creation, but the friendship its original voyage created between both France and the United States two centuries ago.

"They're experience here is going to so different than any usual sailor you're going to meet," said Stack who suggests all visitors speak to Hermoine's crew.

That's because the mixed group of professionals and volunteers actually sailed this ship from France to America's shores. They made stops at the Canary Islands and Bermuda before reaching the East Coast. A crew member said it took about 45 days.

"It takes a bit of time to learn everything. Um, she's a very complex ship. She's super powerful, 2000 square meters of sail so you learn it little by little," said a female volunteer crew member.

Another crew member described the food situation during that voyage. "We've got six refrigerators inside," he said. "So you didn't bring any live animals right?" WUSA9's Stephanie Ramirez asked. "Animals? No! Not anymore, no! In the past yeah, but now, no," answered the crew member.

There's also showers on the ship. Everything else is just like it was more than 230 years ago.

"It's very impressive and very beautiful when we arrive in some ports. We have a very beautiful view," said another crew member who plans to sail the trip back.

Hermione is only in Alexandria until Friday, June 12th. Dockside exhibits are free and open to the public. The timed tour tickets are also free, but are going quickly. A limited number of tickets are being made available each day, at the dock, from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Hermione travels to Annapolis and Baltimore afterwards. It will also sail to Philadelphia and New York, among other cities, before heading back to France.

There's also different events going on around Alexandria to celebrate the Marquis de Lafayette. A full list of events is available here: http://bit.ly/1IGF0qF

More information about Hermione can be found here: http://bit.ly/1gih3HV