While cruising up the U.S. East Coast this year, we visited historic Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. During our visit we learned that Charles W. Morgan, the oldest merchant ship afloat in the USA and the very last whaling ship was ready to be lowered into the water after being on the hard since 2008 for a major restoration. Details of the restoration can be found at www.mysticseaport.org.
Although the official relaunching of the vessel was scheduled for July 21, the hull must first be carefully and gradually wetted to allow the timbers to swell and provide a watertight hull. A “wetting party” was held promptly at 1730 on June 26, attended by employees of Mystic Seaport. We enjoyed watching the pre-launch preparations all afternoon. As we were lying at anchor in the Mystic River just above the seaport, we launched our dinghy and positioned ourselves just off its stern as the ship was slowly lowered into the water. The shiplift was halted at seven feet as the vessel will not be allowed to float off of its supports until July 21. The lowering process took less than a half hour, and when the keel touched the water a huge cheer went up from the crowd.
Plans are being made to sail Charles W. Morgan in company with USS Constitution in Boston in 2014.
Harry Hungate and his wife Jane Lothrop are finally enjoying their home country by cruising up the U.S. East Coast from Jacksonville, Fla., to Maine. Follow their adventures at www.harryjane.weebly.com/blog.html.