New London to say goodbye to the Morgan

New London - A farewell ceremony for the Charles W. Morgan as it prepares to leave on a two-month tour of historic New England ports will be held Friday at 1 p.m at City Pier.

On Saturday, the world's last surviving wooden whaling ship is scheduled to depart City Pier at 4:30 a.m. for Newport, R.I., the first stop on a tour that includes Martha's Vineyard, New Bedford, Provincetown, Boston and the Cape Cod Canal. The Morgan is slated to return home to Mystic Seaport on Aug. 9.

Expected guests at Friday's ceremony are U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, Seaport President Steve White, Executive Vice President Susan Funk and Morgan Capt. Kip Files.

Seaport spokesman Dan McFadden said Tuesday that Files and his crew are very pleased with how the restored ship has performed in last weekend's sea trials.

Two more trials are slated this week before the ship heads out on its 38th voyage, the first since it ended its 80-year whaling career in 1921.

McFadden said plans are for a tugboat to tow the ship down the Thames River and into the ocean Saturday morning. At some point after that, the tow will be dropped and the ship will sail on its own toward Newport. The tugboat, which will accompany the ship on the entire voyage, will tow the Morgan into Newport Harbor late Saturday afternoon or early Saturday evening.

The Morgan is scheduled to be open to the public on June 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fort Adams State Park in Newport.

For more information about the Morgan voyage, visit www.mysticseaport.org/38thvoyage.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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