A crew of 80 sailors prepare the life-size replica of 18th century French naval frigate L'Hermione for a trip across the Atlantic. Jillian Kitchener reports
As fast as the wind can take her, a full-size replica of 18th-century frigate L'Hermione makes its way up the Charente River. A crew of 80 sailors had labored in the early morning to prepare the replica for its United States voyage... Much like the one it made over 200 years ago when the original warship carried France's Marquis de Lafayette to America to aid the rebel colonists. The ship's captain, Yann Cariou, says he's embarking on the sail of a lifetime. (SOUNDBITE) (French) COMMANDER OF L'HERMIONE, YANN CARIOU, SAYING: "We have the opportunity to share this moment with the thousands, maybe millions of people who, like us, have dreamt of this vessel." French president Francois Hollande boarded what he calls "a masterpiece", in celebration of the historical link between France and the U.S. A link many of those gathered here also paid special attention to -- as they hoped to catch a glimpse of the new 25 million euro Hermione, under construction since 1997. She'll soon head for Yorktown, Virginia, where Lafayette and his forces played a critical part in a decisive battle against the British.