December 28, 2011
It should be noted that the L’Hermione is a sailboat, and will always remain so. Therefore, it has never been a question that she might cross the Atlantic on engine.
That being said, existing in the 21st century comes with different barriers and risks not present to the crew back in the 18th century. Many factors led to the installation of engines on the L’Hermione: a little more independence when entering or leaving a port, the ability to escape from a dangerous weather situation, to meet the planned commitments to reach the stopover locations, or in the worst-case scenario, to recover a man overboard.
In order to minimize the damage to the hull and prevent the installation of classical propeller shafts at the rear of the ship (which would have required major work), PODs were installed. These omni-directional thrusters are placed on the side of the hull and only minimally damage the oak structure of the ship. The PODs have a capacity of 300 kW, each about 400 horsepower, and weigh 2.5 tons. Outside the hull, only the propeller of 1 m (3 ft) diameter is visible. Within the frigate, two hydraulic engines can turn the PODs over a full 360 degrees, and an electric engine drives the propellers.
The engines inside the frigate have not yet been installed. They will be placed at the last moment to avoid damage.