Under bright, sunny skies, the 57-year-old replica ship Mayflower II arrived Sunday at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut for several months of restoration.
Towed from Plymouth, Mass., the Mayflower II will be restored at the southeastern Connecticut museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard.
The restoration will begin this month, honoring the Mayflower II‘s original construction and using traditional methods with the goal of restoring the ship to her original state when she arrived in Plymouth in 1957.
Inspections in 2013 revealed that the Mayflower II is in need of a major refit, normal for a ship of its age.
A comprehensive marine survey will be completed by Paul Haley of Capt. G.W. Full & Associates, the firm that surveyed several vintage vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, the USS Constitution and the USS Constellation.
Stone and iron ballast will be completely removed for the first time since the ship was built to allow proper inspection of the bilge area. The scope and plan for the restoration work largely will be determined by the needs identified once the ship is out of the water and the ballast is removed.
Throughout the restoration, the public will have an opportunity to view the ship during the museum’s operating hours. The plan is to permit people to board the ship on land, beginning Feb. 14.
If the repairs go as planned, Mayflower II is expected to return to Plymouth in May. The restoration will be carried out over several years, with the ship spending the winter and spring at Mystic Seaport and returning to Plymouth each summer and fall. The project is scheduled for completion prior to 2020 — the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival.
Plimoth Plantation recently completed major repairs to secure a safe condition for the ship to continue operations on the Plymouth waterfront. Those efforts were initial steps toward addressing a long-term restoration plan, which will follow three phases: survey, document and restore.