The historic ship Mayflower II arrived at Mystic Seaport today after being towed from Plymouth, Mass. She will undergo the first phase of a multi-year restoration in the Museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard.
Restoration work will begin this month, honoring Mayflower II‘s original construction and using traditional methods with the goal of restoring the ship to her original state when she first arrived to Plymouth in 1957. Inspections in 2013 revealed that Mayflower II is in need of a major refit, which is normal for a 57-year-old wooden ship. Plimoth Plantation recently completed some major repairs to secure a safe condition for the ship to continue operations on the Plymouth waterfront. These efforts were the initial steps toward addressing the long-term restoration plan which will follow three phases: survey, document, and restore.
A comprehensive marine survey will be completed by Paul Haley of Capt. G.W. Full & Associates, the same firm that surveyed several vintage vessels including the Charles W. Morgan, the USS Constitution, and the USS Constellation. Stone and iron ballast will be completely removed for the first time since the ship’s construction to allow proper inspection of the bilge area. The scope and plan for this winter’s restoration work will largely be determined by the needs identified once the ship is out of the water and the ballast is removed.
Throughout the restoration the public will have the opportunity to view the ship during the Museum’s operating hours, and the plan is to permit people to board the ship on land beginning February 14, 2015.
If repairs go as planned, Mayflower II is expected to return to Plymouth in late May, 2015. The restoration of the 57-year-old wooden ship will be carried out over several years with the ship spending winter and spring at Mystic Seaport and returning to Plymouth each summer and fall. The project is scheduled for completion prior to 2020–the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival.