PLYMOUTH – An extensive restoration of the Mayflower II is set to begin.
The ship left Plymouth harbor yesterday, en route to Mystic, Connecticut, where it will spend the winter being restored. The nearly 60-year-old vessel traveled through the Cape Cod Canal as part of its three-day journey to Mystic.
The scope of the restoration will be determined this winter.
“It will all depend on what is discovered. One of the first things they’re going to do is take out the iron and stone ballast, which has never been removed from the ship in 60 years,” said Plimoth Plantation Deputy Director Richard Pickering.
Plimoth Plantation is having the restoration work done ahead of the upcoming 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim’s landing, which is expected to draw thousands of people to Plymouth in 2020. The Mayflower II is one of the main tourist attractions in town, and business owners felt its absence two years ago when the vessel was away having restoration work done.
“It’s the anchor of the economy downtown,” said Pickering “Many businesses were reporting upwards of 36 percent down in business while the ship was away.”
The Mayflower II is scheduled to return to Plymouth Harbor in May.