Ship Leaves Mystic Seaport for the First Time Since 1941
MYSTIC, Conn. (May 17, 2014) — The Charles W. Morgan, a National Historic Landmark vessel and the last wooden whaleship in the world, departed Mystic Seaport to begin her 38th Voyage on Saturday, May 17. The ship was towed down the Mystic River and over to nearby New London, Conn., the first stop on what will be a nearly three month journey to historic ports in Southern New England.
The ship, which has not left Mystic Seaport since she arrived on November 8, 1941, led a procession of vessels down the Mystic River, including the Museum’s steamboat Sabino, its fishing vessel Roann, and five whaleboats rowed by Mystic Seaport staff and volunteers. The ship was cheered by crowds of onlookers as she made her way downriver en route to Fishers Island Sound, and several hundred people greeted her as she arrived at City Pier in New London.
“Today’s brief journey is the culmination of an incredible amount of work and effort by the Mystic Seaport community. This is a proud moment for the Museum and everyone who contributed to making this voyage a reality,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport.
The day will began with a brief farewell ceremony in the Museum’s Henry B. DuPont Preservation Shipyard at 8:45 a.m., where the ship was formally entrusted to the care of her 22nd master, Capt. Kip Files, of Rockland, Maine.
The ship cast off her lines at 9:11 a.m. and arrived in New London ahead of schedule at 12:48 p.m.
“It was a smooth journey and we learned that the ship is fairly easy to tow,” Said Capt. Files. “Now we need to get her ready to go sailing.”
The crew will now get to work to complete preparations for the next phase of the voyage where she will actively sail for the first time since the 1920s. The ship will be ballasted (weighted down) to her correct sailing draft, the sails will be attached to the spars, and the crew will conduct four days of sail training scheduled for June 7-8 and June 11-12.
The ship will be open to the public in New London with an extensive dockside exhibit on May 24-25, May 31, and June 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The ship departs on the next leg of the 38th Voyage with a transit to Newport, RI, on June 14. Following that stop, the ship will then visit Vineyard Haven, Mass.; New Bedford, Mass.; and Boston, where she will dock next to the USS Constitution. She will also anchor off of Provincetown, Mass. for day sails to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, where the Morgan will team up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to observe whales in their natural environment and call attention to mankind’s changing relationship with the natural world.