The Charles W. Morgan took an important step towards her launch today as she began her move to the Museum’s ship lift. Shipyard staff members pulled her about 40 feet sideways so her cradle was in line with the rails that will guide her out to the lift. The vessel had been moved to the side in late 2008 so that other vessels could be hauled while she was out of the water.
Beginning early this morning, shipyard staff cleaned the area around the rails and rigged a long chain and four chain falls to the side of the ship’s cradle. These were attached to four eyebolts bolted to the concrete on the far side of the tracks. When the start signal was given, staff members systematically cranked link-by-link to draw the ship onto the new track. The process took about two hours in very hot and humid conditions.
Now that she is in alignment with the lift track, each of the wheels supporting the cradle will be rotated 90 degrees do she can roll lengthwise.
The next major step will occur on Wednesday, June 26, when the ship is rolled approximately 200 feet out onto the ship lift. She will then be partially lowered into the water so her bottom planks will have the opportunity to soak up water and swell.
Unfortunately, visitors will not be able to board the ship for the next few days, but she will be open sometime on Thursday in her new location.