MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH)– It’s safe to say millions have seen the Mayflower II, but never from this angle. The massive 200-ton ship was hauled from the Mystic River Tuesday morning for a multi-year restoration project.
“My stress level just went way down and my comfort level went way up,” said the Mayflower’s Capt., Whit Perry.
He watched the hull become fully exposed; 13 feet of it usually sits underwater while docked at its home port of Plymouth, Mass.
“I’m very, very happy and pleased with what I am seeing,” said Capt. Perry. “The bottom’s very clean, much cleaner than I expected.”
One hundred tons of ballast will be removed for the first time since the replica of the Pilgrim’s ship was built in 1957. Some repairs are already expected.
“Some framing and planking below the waterline, and then we know that the stem needs replacing and the stern posts, which are pretty big jobs we will not undertake this year,” said Mystic Seaport shipyard director Quentin Snediker.
The ship will be brought back to Mystic for several winters to complete the project in time for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim’s arrival.
“The goal is that by 2019-2020, that winter, that we finish her to a point where she’ll be able to get coast guard inspection and return to carrying some passengers,” said Snediker.
The Mayflower’s shipwrights and riggers will be working alongside workers in Mystic.
“Now I’ll be able to go home and enjoy the holidays knowing it’s in very good hands with Mystic Seaport,” said Capt. Perry.