Don’t Give Up the Ship: Mayflower Replica Gets a Makeover 

KA_Bourne_Mayflower_II_Cape Canal_return_47_060616PLYMOUTH – The Mayflower II is getting a makeover — and it’s not just cosmetic.

Plimouth Plantation says it’s raised most of the $7.5 million needed to overhaul the replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America’s shores in 1620.

The British-built vessel was sailed to the U.S. as a gift of friendship in 1957. Since then, 25 million visitors have boarded it.

But 60 years of exposure to the elements have taken their toll on the wooden ship. Its hull is rotting, beetles have infested some of its timbers, and half of what lies beneath the waterline needs replacing.

Project leader Whit Perry says, “We have issues all over the ship.”

Craftsmen at Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport hope to complete the repairs in time for 400th anniversary festivities in 2020.

A marine survey conducted in 2014 determined that 60 years after the replica was constructed, a major rebuild was needed.

sk_plymouth-mayflower-ii-departs_11-01-16-132“We would love to have the ship here for Thankgiving, but it really makes sense for the project timeline to get her to Mystic Seaport before any inclement weather,” said Plimouth Plantation spokesperson Kate Sheehan.

Maritime artisans from Plimouth Plantation will work with shiprights from the Mystic Seaport to restore the Mayflower II.

They will follow specifications from the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation Projects.

Sheehan said that timbers, planking, structural frames, knees and beams will all be replaced during the rehabilitation.

“This is the result of the effects of time and sun and salt and sand. This is not something that could have prevented,” Sheehan said about the damage that needs to be repaired.

Officials with the living museum previously said they would need $7.5 million to repair the ship, which arrived in Plymouth in 1957.

Along with damage from the natural elements, a wharf-boring beetle has invaded much of the ship. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to help fund the renovations.

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