Restored Mayflower II set to leave Mystic Seaport on Monday for New London
Mystic — The Mayflower II is set to leave Mystic Seaport Museum on Monday morning for two weeks of sail training in New London.
The 64-year-old tall ship, which has been in the Seaport shipyard for the past three years undergoing a major restoration, is then slated to leave on a trip that will culminate with it arriving home at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts on Aug. 10.
The COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the vessel’s initial departure and homecoming celebration this spring.
The brightly-painted ship is a reproduction of the one that brought the Pilgrims to what is now Plymouth, Mass., in 1620.
Plimoth Plantation, which will change its name to Plimoth Patuxet later this year, announced Wednesday the ship will be towed out of the museum shipyard at 9 a.m. Monday. Crowds are expected to line the Mystic River as the ship makes its way through the drawbridge and down the river. Plimoth Plantation is asking spectators to practice social distancing and wear masks.
The ship and its crew will be docked at City Pier for just over two weeks. The ship’s captain Whit Perry and his crew of 27 will then take the ship on sea trials. Plimoth Plantation said the ship will not be open to the public while it is in New London, in an effort to protect the health and safety of the crew.
“In a year marred by loss and great uncertainty in the world, we are hopeful that once again sailing Mayflower may offer a symbol of courage and perseverance to millions of people,” said Ellie Donovan, Plimoth’s executive director. “We will be forever grateful to Mystic Seaport Museum for their partnership on this remarkable restoration, and we are thrilled to bring Mayflower home to Plymouth in this 400th commemoration year.”
Plimoth Plantation said more details about the ship’s voyage will be forthcoming.
The Mayflower II was built in Brixham, England, beginning in July 1955. It was a gift from the people of England to the people of the United States to honor the bonds of friendship they formed during World War II. It arrived in Plymouth, Mass., in 1957 and has since been visited by millions of people.
The restoration, which was done in keeping with historical preservation, involved replacing almost 70% of the ship’s timbers, planking, structural frames, knees and beams.
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