MAYFLOWER II High and Dry
Mayflower II was moved into the Museum’s Hays and Ros Clark Shiplift this morning and hauled out of the water so that restoration work can begin in earnest after the holidays. It is a process that takes several hours from beginning to end.
First, the ship was carefully maneuvered by the shipyard’s workboats off of the north side of the lift and positioned over the cradle on the submerged platform. The cradle on the platform had been previously set up with blocking and poppets to match the curves of the hull.
Once in position, divers were sent into the water to adjust the supports. This was cold work in the waters of the Mystic River in December, and it is a job not made any easier by the poor visibility due to the current dredging of the channel just off the Museum.
Satisfied that Mayflower II was properly supported, the lift motors were engaged and the ship inched out of the water until high and dry. After an inspection and some additional adjustments to the cradle supports, one of the shipyard’s forklifts pulled the whole apparatus, ship and all, forward off the lift onto the concrete pad in the yard for a thorough power-washing of the hull. The pad includes a waste-water collection system to catch the debris off the hull to prevent it from entering the river.
Prof. Jim Carlton, director of the Williams-Mystic program, took the opportunity with his staff to take samples of marine growth from the keel of Mayflower II. They are interested in seeing what the ship transported down from Plymouth.
The next task is for the ballast to be removed from the hold to enable a detailed survey of the hull.