January 20, 2012
The boat lock, a caisson-like lock system and one of the great inventions of the Charentais arsenal, will be reborn thanks to the rehabilitation of the old arsenal and the reconstruction of the L’Hermione.
In 2011, the construction of two of these boat locks, the traditional closing device of the drydocks, was entrusted to a company in the Netherlands. The first one will close the double drydock “Louis XV,” where the L’Hermione is actually built, to allow the dock to fill gradually at the time of the launch. The second will close the entrance to the drydock of the 19th century, known as “Napoleon III,” which will host the frigate from July 2012 on.
The boat locks of the drydocks were destroyed during World War II and replaced in the early nineties by a concrete wall. During the preparation and cleaning of the “Napoleon III” drydock, the wreck of its boat lock was discovered, hidden under the mud since the 1944 bombings.
The work done by the City of Rochefort and accompanying installation of boat locks also includes civil works, de-silting around the drydocks, the dredging of the riverbed, and the construction of an intermediary door in the “Louis XV” drydock.
More information about the boat locks can be found on the site of the City of Rochefort.