Mystic Seaport to Restore Mayflower II

The Mayflower II in Plymouth Harbor
The Mayflower II in Plymouth Harbor. Photos/New England Boating/Tom Richardson.

Mystic Seaport and Plimoth Plantation have announced a collaborative project to restore and repair Mayflower II, a full-scale reproduction ship owned byPlimoth Plantation in Massachusetts.

Work on the historic ship will take place at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport, adhering to The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Vessel Preservation Projects. A cohesive restoration plan will be established in conjunction with Plimoth Plantation’s Maritime Artisans Program, led by the museum’s newly hired Associate Director for Maritime Preservation and Operations, Whit Perry.

Work will begin in December on a multi-year, phased restoration plan, honoring the ship’s original construction and using traditional methods with the goal of restoring the ship to her original state when she first arrived in Plymouth in 1957. Inspections in 2013 revealed that Mayflower II is in need of a major refit, which is normal for a nearly 60-year-old wooden ship. Recently, Plimoth Plantation completed some major repairs to secure a safe condition for the ship to continue operations on the Plymouth waterfront. These efforts were the initial steps toward addressing the long-term restoration plan.

The restoration plan will begin following 3 phases: survey, document, and restore. A comprehensive marine survey will be completed by Paul Haley of Capt. G.W. Full & Associates, the same firm that surveyed several vintage vessels including the Mystic Seaport flagship Charles W. Morgan,the USS ConstitutionConstellation, and many additional projects within the tall ship community. Stone and iron ballast will be completely removed for the first time since the ship’s construction nearly 60 years ago, to allow proper inspection of the bilge area. The scope and plan for this winter’s restoration work will largely be determined by the needs identified once the ship is out of the water and the ballast removed.

The significant restoration of the 57-year-old wooden ship is scheduled for completion prior to 2020–the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival.

Watch a video of the Mayflower II being repaired at Fairhaven Shipyard in 2013.