MAYFLOWER II to Depart May 16

MAYFLOWER II in the shipyard in April 2015.

Mayflower II in the shipyard in April 2015. The bags at left contain stone ballast from the hold of the ship.

Plimoth Plantation and Mystic Seaport announced today that Mayflower II is currently scheduled to depart Mystic Seaport on the morning of May 16 for her return trip to Plymouth. In the past several months, the full-scale reproduction ship owned by Plimoth Plantation has undergone an extensive survey and a first phase of restoration work at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport.

Mayflower II will be towed by tugboat back to Plymouth, a trip that should take an estimated two days. Timing for the ship’s return is dependent on tide levels and weather conditions. Once back at her berth in Plymouth, the ship will be inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard and other preparations will be carried out to make her ready to reopen to visitors prior to the Memorial Day weekend.

“This iconic ship is a leading tourism attraction in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Paul Cripps of Destination Plymouth, “drawing millions of people from around the world to Plymouth’s historic waterfront to learn about the United States’ early history. We’re glad she’ll be back for the busy summer and fall season.”

Work on Mayflower II continued last December on a multi-year restoration plan. The goal is to restore the ship to her original condition in time for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival in 2020. Inspections in 2013 revealed that the ship is in need of a major refit, which is normal for a nearly 60-year-old wooden ship. In the past several months at the shipyard, a comprehensive marine survey, both in and out of the water, revealed the nature and extent of all the repairs that need to be made in the years to come. The survey required that the ship’s 130 tons of iron and stone ballast be completely removed for inspection. A number of repairs were made to the ship’s hull, including the replacement of planks, frames, and much caulking of the seams both below the waterline and up on deck.

Mayflower II’s future vitality depends on fundraising efforts to complete the significant restoration of the 58-year-old wooden ship.

“We’re currently working on plans for fundraising for the remainder of this multi-year, multi-million dollar restoration project,” said Ellie Donovan, executive director of Plimoth Plantation. “We’re pleased with the excellent work that Mystic Seaport accomplished this winter and we look forward to continuing this exciting collaboration.”

Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum with vast restoration experience and knowledge of historic wooden vessels. The Museum recently completed the restoration of its 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, a National Historic Landmark vessel and America’s oldest commercial ship still afloat. The Morgan sailed on her historic 38th Voyage last summer.

“We have been privileged to have Mayflower II with us these past several months,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “Plimoth Plantation and Mystic Seaport have created a very effective collaboration and we are pleased that we have been able to apply our expertise in maritime restoration to support the mission of a fellow museum.”

Specifics on the timing of the ship’s departure from Mystic Seaport and her arrival in Plymouth will be released closer to the departure day. Updates will be posted on this website and on Mystic Seaport’s social media outlets, including the Museum’s Facebook page.

For more information about Mayflower II and her restoration, visit www.plimoth.org/sos.