Published on October 10th, 2020 | by Philippe Bouthet du Rivault0
The Hermione-LaFayette Association: Hermione News
Initially scheduled for June, it wasn’t until Saturday September 26, that the general assembly of the members of the Hermione-La Fayette Association could take place due to COVID-19.
The ship was therefore eagerly greeted by all lovers of the frigate to find out how it had stuck it out through this unprecedented crisis and what future voyages would lie ahead.
Here’s the gist of what took place at the meeting:
On a financial level, 2019 was in deficit and 2020 will be too, but less so than feared by the board of directors thanks to an excellent summer during which the frigate recorded a solid rate of attendance and obtained grants from the region, The Department of Interiors and the city. However, well aware that the association’s economic model cannot be based solely on visitors, the association has come up with a new structure, “L’arsenal des mers1” (Arsenal of the seas). This structure covers all the tourist promotional aspects. This allows the association to focus on its job as a ship-owner: to navigate the frigate with the objective of training sailors, helping young people find a purpose in their life and insure that the frigate remains to be an ambassador of France and the city of Rochefort.
So what are the projected plans in this area of interest? Commander Yann Cariou had put together a very ambitious project, the “Odyssée La Pérouse,” consisting of a trip that retraced a good part of the scientific exploration expedition2 , originally planned by King Louis XVI but which unfortunately didn’t return to France. Fortunately, part of the goods had been unloaded on the Siberian coast and transported to Paris. Without retracing the entire route of La Pérouse, this trip maintained its scientific goals with the support of the Academy of Sciences, and would last 18 months. Even if sponsors have been found, in the current context of things, it cannot be considered as the next expedition.
On the other hand, negotiations between the association and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should lead to an excursion in Northern Europe where the frigate would help promote tourism in France. This agreement is expected to be finalized soon and the travel dates and planned stopovers will be announced before the end of this year.
Technically, Hermione is aging well. Fortunately, volunteers continue to provide as much maintenance as possible3 but the set of sails, which has been the same since 2014, and certain modern navigation equipment including RADAR must be renewed.
(Rochefort, September 30, 2020).
3 Their operations represent savings of around € 900,000 per year.
This article was translated in English by John Wilmot.