A reconstruction of the 213-foot-long frigate used by France's Marquis de Lafayette to bring reinforcements to American revolutionaries in 1780 has tested the waters for the first time.

The test run at high tide early Sunday was a key step in a 17-year project aimed at sending the ship next year across the Atlantic, retracing Lafayette's journey to Boston and the foundation of French-American relations.

Maritime and history experts and aficionados have made rebuilding the Hermione a major project for the French port of Rochefort in southwest France.

Ship builders and researchers have painstakingly rebuilt the ship using the same construction materials and methods as those used to build the original, from the pulley systems to the massive oak hull.