After nearly five years out of the water, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan took its first steps on her journey back to the Mystic River this morning. Shipwrights prepared to move the 300-ton ship onto a ship lift over the water in preparation for her launch, but first, the Morgan needed to be moved sideways to align with the lift and then rolled out onto the lift itself. The total distance will be a couple of hundred feet. The entire process is expected to complete by Wednesday evening.
Seaport shipyard director Quentin Snediker said the Morgan would rest Tuesday after the 60 to 80 foot move to the centerline. The Morgan has been in the same place since 2008 during its restoration. A flurry of activity and countless minutes of hurry up and wait Monday morning as workers prepared the way for the ship’s move.
“It’s not routine, but we expect it to go exactly as planned,” Snediker said.
The Morgan is scheduled to be launched at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 21 in a public ceremony.
The ship has been undergoing a comprehensive restoration at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at the Museum since November 2008. A National Historic Landmark and the country’s oldest commercial ship, the Morgan will embark on a ceremonial 38th Voyage in late spring 2014 to historic ports in New England, including New London, Newport, Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, Provincetown, and Boston. She will also venture onto the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary near the mouth of Massachusetts Bay.