Mystic Seaport to Step the Masts of the Charles W. Morgan
MYSTIC, Conn. (October 10, 2013) – As part of her five-year, multi-million dollar restoration, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan is taking an important step in her journey back to sea on Thursday, October 17, when the staff at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport will begin the process of stepping the masts. The moment will be marked by a brief ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Shipyard to present the coins that will be placed under the masts.
The ship was de-rigged and had its masts and spars removed at the outset of the restoration in 2008. Re-installing the masts, known as “stepping” in nautical terminology, is an important occasion during a ship’s construction. Maritime tradition holds that a coin should be placed under the base of a mast for good luck. To mark significant events in the Morgan’s history, three coins have been selected for placement:
- 1841 U.S. Silver Dollar – Representing the original launch of the Morgan.
- 1941 U.S. Silver Half-Dollar – Signifying the ship’s arrival at Mystic Seaport.
- 2013 U.S. Silver Dollar – Symbolizing the current restoration.
“Each coin represents a milestone in the Morgan’s important story. The ship has survived arctic ice, fire, hurricanes, and more on her 37 voyages spanning the globe. We hope these coins will continue to protect her as she embarks on what may be the most important mission of her career: carrying a cargo of knowledge to celebrate America’s maritime heritage,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport.
The coins will replace the three coins that were removed when the previous masts were taken out in 2008. They were a 1908 Barber Silver Half Dollar, an Eisenhower Silver Dollar dating from 1971-1977 (corrosion made it impossible to read the specific year), and a 1997 U.S. Silver Dollar. Each coin signifies a mast replacement during the Morgan’s career.
Stepping the masts is an extensive process that will take place on two separate days: the foremast will be stepped on October 17 and the main and mizzen masts are scheduled to be stepped on October 31. The ceremony will take place prior to the stepping of the foremast and will give the public an opportunity to see the coins before they are taken below, and to witness an historic event as the first mast gets lifted into position.
About the 38th Voyage
The Charles W. Morgan’s 38th Voyage will begin in late May 2014, when the ship will go back to sea to visit historic ports of New England to celebrate the importance of America’s maritime heritage. After a period of refitting and sea trials based in New London, the ship will sail to Newport, Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, and Boston. She will also venture onto the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and participate in the centennial celebration of the Cape Cod Canal. The voyage will be a commemoration of the role of the sea in the history of America and an appreciation of our changing relationship with the natural world.
About Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The museum is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $24 for adults and $15 for children ages 6-17. Museum members and children 5 and under are admitted free. For more information, please visit www.mysticseaport.org.