STONINGTON, Conn. (CBS) – History is getting ready to sail as three years of restoration work on the Mayflower replica comes to an end. It’s all part of next year’s commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ voyage to what is now Massachusetts.
They’re getting ready for an important milestone at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. The Mayflower II, a full scale reproduction of the ship that carried the Pilgrims to the new world in 1620 is ready for launch.
“We’ve tried very hard to do it as a historic preservation project,” said Quentin Snediker, who supervised the restoration of the ship at the seaport. “I always look at large wooden ship construction as a collective sculpture, and it’s been the collaboration of many skilled people to bring it together.”
They used traditional wooden boat building techniques as well as modern equipment for the preservation of what is really a living history museum.
On Saturday, the Mayflower II will be christened and launched. That’s going to be a great moment for Capt. Whit Perry from Plimoth Plantation, the institution that owns the Mayflower. “It’s an iconic piece of history and it’s very, very important that we keep this ship going,” he said.
The Mayflower is the centerpiece of next year’s commemoration of the voyage of the Pilgrims to Plymouth, 400 years ago. And for Don Heminitz, one of the 75 people who worked on the restoration, that’s the realization of an important goal. “I think it will just bring home that this is not just another boat in the water. There’s really a big story to it,” he said.
The Mayflower II will stay at the Mystic Seaport until next year. In May she sails to Boston and will be on display at the Charlestown Navy Yard. Then it’s on to its home port of Plymouth in time for the anniversary in June.