In a recent press release from Plimouth Plantation, it was announced that the 17th-century restoration ship - the Mayflower II - would be returning to her homeport in Massachusetts in August of this year. The 64-year-old ship will be undergoing two weeks of sail trials upon finally arriving in port by August 10th. The square-rigger has been docked at the Mystic Seaport Museum.

Those in the area might have the chance to see this masterfully reconstructed ship, which was modeled after the original Mayflower, on which the first settlers made landfall in Patuxet, Massachusetts, back in 1620.


The Ship's Grand Voyage

The ship is set to depart the Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard by 9 AM on July 20th before spending two weeks "at sea." The ship will be pulled along by a tugboat, called the JAGUAR, and while spectators won't be able to witness the ship sailing out of port, there are several spots along the Mystic River for viewing.

Plimouth Plantation does request that all those viewing the historic replica be respectful of others, don't crowd viewing locations, and wear masks while practicing proper social distancing. In addition, those interested will be able to track the ship's whereabouts by heading to the MarineTraffic website and searching for "Mayflower" in the search box.

When the Mayflower II gets to New London, it will then undergo a series of practice tests. It will be docked at the City Pier for a little more than two weeks and during that time, the crew will examine the ship's performance as well as conducting sail training. During that time, the crew will be the only ones with access to the ship - public access, should it be safe, will not be resumed until the ship is safely back in Plymouth Harbor.

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A Message From Plimouth

Ellie Donovan, the director for the Plimouth Plantation, said in the press release, "In a year marred by loss and great uncertainty in the world, we are hopeful that once again sailing Mayflower may offer a symbol of courage and perseverance to millions of people." Donovan then went on to thank the Mystic Seaport Museum for taking such great care in handling and temporarily housing the Mayflower II and helping Plimouth bring her home for the 400th anniversary of the town's settlement.

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Plimouth Plantation is one of the best living museums in the country and details the life of both the settlers as well as Native peoples who called the land their home. The addition of the Mayflower II has only served to heighten and make the experience of those visiting that much more realistic, as it's a near-exact replica of the ship that was sailed there exactly 400 years prior. The replica was designed by naval architect William Avery Baker, who was trained at MIT. The ship was built in Brixham, England, in July of 1955, and was meant to be a gift from England to America, symbolizing the bonds that were created during the Second World War.

The ship made its maiden voyage to Plymouth on June 13th, 1957, during which there were 25,000 people in attendance to witness her arrival. From that moment on, the ship would become a historic teaching tool for those wanting to learn about the first Pilgrims to arrive on the shores of Plymouth. While the ship did face eventual deterioration, the Mystic Seaport Museum vowed to restore the ship to her former glory - thus allowing generations to appreciate her history and significance for years to come.

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