MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — A reproduction of a well-known ship began a new journey on Sunday morning. The Mayflower II left Mystic Seaport for Plymouth, Massachusetts. The ship is a reproduction of the Mayflower, the historic ship that brought the Pilgrims to Plymouth nearly 400 years ago.
Whit Perry and his crew spent part of the morning getting the Mayflower II shipshape from top to bottom. The trip from Mystic to Plymouth takes about two days. Perry is Director of Maritime Preservation and Operations for Plimoth Plantation, a museum in Plymouth. He’s also the ship’s captain.
“We live right on the ship during these transits back and forth,” he said.
Visitors will be able to see the ship in Plymouth after she arrives. She was built in England in the 1950s.
“In that time there have been over 25 million people across her decks in Plymouth,” said Perry.
These people have learned something about our nation’s history while onboard. The ship is not an exact replica of the original Mayflower, since that ship is gone. Rather, it is an educated guess as to what it probably looked like.
“The ship is an American icon, and schoolkids in Oklahoma who don’t know the sea certainly know what the Mayflower is,” said Quentin Snediker, Shipyard Director at Mystic Seaport.
Despite years of smooth sailing, the Mayflower II needs work. Major beams and planks need to be replaced. It will take more than just the winter months at Mystic Seaport to complete, and crews have a deadline.
“We all know the story of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and now we’re coming up on our 400th commemoration in 2020,” said Perry.
The Mayflower II is expected back at Mystic Seaport in December; that’s when the two year restoration project will get started.