‘Mayflower II’ Needs Help to Sail for 400th Anniversary

KA_Bourne_Mayflower_II_Cape Canal_return_49_060616PLYMOUTH – With the 400th Anniversary of the Pilgrims landing approaching urgency has set in to get the Mayflower II ready to sail.

The 60-year-old replica of the original Mayflower is $3 million short of a $7.5 million fundraising goal set for November 15.

The vessel is scheduled to leave for Mystic, Connecticut in November where it will dock to receive extensive repairs at the Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard.

The ship has not sailed since 2014 and Plimoth Plantation spokeswoman Kate Sheehan says the lack of donations is jeopardizing the timetable to be ready for 2020.

“That’s obviously for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts a very significant moment and the spotlight will be on us and Mayflower II is certainly a centerpiece of that celebration,” Sheehan said.

Plimoth Plantation is hopeful that friends and supporters can help them close the $3 million gap with gifts of any size.

“Some major gifts would be really helpful but we are also looking for broad-based support at lower levels as well,” Sheehan said.

If the $7.5 million goal is reached a $1.5 million donation will be made by an anonymous donor.

The wharf-boring beetle has invaded the wood of the vessel and much of the ship’s hull is rotting.

Plimoth Plantation officials said approximately 60 percent of the ship’s planking below the waterline must be replaced.

The Mayflower II also needs new framing and a sizable portion of its deck restored.

Sheehan said getting the repairs done is critical for the future of the vessel.

“Mayflower II is worth preserving for all of the stories she tells,” she said. “She is a cultural and economic anchor in Plymouth.”

Thousands of school children in Massachusetts visit the vessel each year.

“She has a truly irreplaceable educational mission and to lose this ship, which is historic in its own right, would really be a travesty.”

The fundraising is part of an ultimate goal of $12 million which would cover maintenance and operational costs in the future.

To make a donation click here.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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