The Mayflower II looms large in the historic seaport of Mystic, Connecticut, looking like Noah's Ark while it sits out of the water.
It's getting a bow-to-stern makeover to get ready for the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage and the founding of Plymouth in 2020. The ship will be part of a series of events commemorating that history. (NBC10 Boston, Telemundo Boston and necn are sponsors.)
Workers busy restoring the vessel since 2015 are nearing a major milestone: its official launch into the water, set for Saturday.
"It was just time for Mayflower, after 25 million people being across her deck since 1957, for us to do a major reconstruction of the ship," said Whit Perry, who is leading the project.
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The reconstruction of the original Mayflower was a gift to the United States from the United Kingdom. While 70% of the ship is being replaced, the team — which includes Perry's son, Dylan — has replicated the older processes and materials "so that the historical fabric of the vessel stays intact," Perry said.
After the launch, the Mayflower II will go through at least two more months of uprigging and outfitting, including putting the mast in, according to Perry. Then, in May 2020, he will captain the ship to Plymouth for the anniversary of the Pilgrims' landing.