The 38th Voyage

The Charles W. Morgan sails again during the summer of 2014

Over an 80-year career, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan sailed on 37 voyages to remote corners of the globe. This voyage, her 38th, may perhaps be her most important. Where once the Morgan’s cargo was whale oil and baleen, today her cargo is knowledge.

The decision to sail the Morgan is based on Mystic Seaport’s commitment to make history come alive for today’s audience. The 38th Voyage will call attention to the value of historic ships and the important role America’s maritime heritage plays in this country’s history. The voyage will also raise awareness about the changing perception about whales and whaling.

On May 17, 2014, the Morgan left Mystic Seaport and was pushed down the Mystic River by a tugboat, and then towed across Fishers Island Sound and up the Thames River to New London, where she berthed at City Pier. This was the first time the ship had left the Museum since her arrival in November, 1941. A month-long fitting out period took place while the Morgan was in New London. The ship was ballasted to her correct sailing draft, the sails were attached to the spars, and the crew conducted four days of sail training.

On June 15, the Morgan left New London and began her journey up the coast of New England, stopping first at Newport, RI. The ship will then sail to Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Boston, and then back to New London and Mystic with a stop at the Cape Cod Canal to participate in its centennial celebration.

Sailing the 1841 whaling vessel is a maritime event not seen since the 1920s. Due to her status as a National Historic Landmark, the ship will proceed to each scheduled port on a one-day sail so she can be safely berthed in the next harbor by nightfall. As weather conditions are a determining factor in the decision to head to sea each day, each port transit is scheduled with a three-day window of opportunity with the intention that the ship will sail on the first acceptable day.

Once in port, the Morgan will be open to the public on select days. Additionally, the ship is accompanied by a traveling dockside exhibition that includes historic interpretation, live demonstrations, music, waterfront activities, and more. This is a once-in-a-lifetime journey and we hope you make plans to visit the ship at one of the ports.

Following a stop in New Bedford, the whaleship’s homeport for most of her whaling career, the Charles W. Morgan will sail to Provincetown (July 11-13) for daily sails to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. There will be no visitor access to the ship in Provincetown but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will host a free dockside educational exhibit highlighting how National Marine Sanctuaries interpret our maritime past, promote ocean conservation, and are engaged in cutting-edge research to understand the marine world. The booth will also include children’s activities.

The public can also follow the Morgan’s visit to the sanctuary on OceansLIVE (http://www.OceansLIVE.org), which will broadcast from the vessel and other locations, offering interviews and commentary with historians, scientists, authors, and artists discussing the shift from whaling to watching in New England.

Upon her return to Mystic Seaport in August, the Morgan will resume her role as an exhibit and the flagship of the Museum.

The 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan: May 17-August 9, 2014

All dates are subject to change due to inclement weather and unforeseen operating conditions.