Mayflower II Departs Plymouth for 30-Month Restoration

PLYMOUTH – The Mayflower II departed Plimouth Plantation Tuesday to begin a 30-month major retrofit and renovation.

The replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to what would become Massachusetts is not expected to return until 2019, just before the 400th commemoration of the Pilgrims’ arrival.

With the assistance of a tugboat, the Mayflower II will be transported to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and put into dry dock at the Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard.

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

“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.

The Mayflower II was expected to leave Plymouth at around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and pass through the Cape Cod Canal between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

By MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com News Director

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