Efforts to complete a massive restoration of the wooden replica of the Mayflower are on schedule, according to Peter Arenstam, ship captain and Maritime Program Director of Plimouth Plantation.
Plantation officials were shocked last December when the ship was brought to dry dock for routine Coast Guard inspection and it was determined the 56 year old wooden ship needed exhaustive repairs, right down to the ribs. The cost of the project is an estimated $2 million.
Photo credit: Plimouth Plantation
Among the hand-crafted and labor-intensive measures are oak planks 3 inches thick and in some places, 20 feet long, meticulously measured and installed to keep out the water. Some of the planks require steaming to make
them bend to the shape of the hull. Galvanized nails, 5/8" in diameter are custom made to fasten the planks to the frame.
The photo above shows the degree to which the planks were planed and bent to accommodate the Mayflower II's girlish figure. The repair crew says it is a major challenge to find oak trees large enough and with "just the right curve" to begin sawing the enormous planks.
The dramatic photo above shows the "before" of the bow, with old fasteners being extracted.
The Mayflower II is a full-sized replica of the original Mayflower that landed on Cape Cod with 102 passengers and crew, before crossing Cape Cod Bay to Plymouth in 1620. The Mayflower II was constructed in Devon, England and delivered to the U.S. in 1957.
Plimouth Plantation officials seek donations to pay for the restoration work so that the 17th century reproduction can return to it's familiar berth in Plymouth Harbor by early summer. Click here to make a donation.
And to hear why the Mayflower II is so important to the Plymouth community and to history buffs everywhere, take in the following video of Dick Bean, a volunteer who has been connected to the ship since it arrived from England in 1956.