Morgan masts to be reinstalled in Seaport ceremony

Mystic - Mystic Seaport shipyard workers will reinstall the masts on the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan during a ceremony Thursday at 10 a.m.

The world's last surviving wooden whaling ship is nearing the end of a five-year restoration. Next year, the 172-year-old ship is slated to embark on a voyage to visit historic ports around New England.

During Thursday's ceremony, three symbolic coins will be placed under the base of masts for good luck, according to maritime tradition.

The three coins are a 1841 U.S. silver dollar to represent the year the Morgan was first launched, a 1941 U.S. silver half dollar to signify the year the ship arrived at Mystic Seaport and a 2013 U.S. silver dollar symbolizing the current restoration.

"Each coin represents a milestone in the Morgan's important story. The ship has survived arctic ice, fire, hurricanes, and more on her 37 voyages spanning the globe. We hope these coins will continue to protect her as she embarks on what may be the most important mission of her career: carrying a cargo of knowledge to celebrate America's maritime heritage," said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport.

The coins will replace the three coins that were removed when the previous masts were taken out in 2008. They were a 1908 Barber silver half dollar, an Eisenhower silver dollar dating from 1971-1977 (corrosion made it impossible to read the specific year), and a 1997 U.S. silver dollar. Each coin signifies a mast replacement during the Morgan's career.

The foremast will be "stepped" or installed on Thursday while the main and mizzen masts are scheduled to be stepped on Oct. 31.

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