We started painting the ship on Monday. If anyone has looked at the ship recently they have noticed it has needed some paint for some time. In some seasons we spend from mid June into September painting depending on how thorough a job we are doing. Five or six years ago we spent two whole summer seasons burning paint off the ship and repainting everything.
Mayflower is out in the weather twenty-four hours a day 365 days a year in the salt-water environment that is so hard on a painted surface. If you turn your back for a minute on the ship the paint starts pealing. If you spend time doing repairs or making sails or tarring rigging, the paint just starts pops off in flakes like maple leaves after a fall cold snap.
As anyone can tell you a good paint job is all about good preparation. Scraping loose paint, sanding everything smooth, sound wood under it all and dry clear weather are all necessary ingredients for a long-lasting high quality finish. Good preparation takes time and patience with our New England weather.
We have been fortunate this week to have some volunteers helping with the painting process. About 14 interns from the Plantation’s auditing firm Mcglardey & Pullen, Certified Public Accountants, were at the ship yesterday. The firm requires the interns to volunteer outside of the accounting industry. The business and accounting majors, with good humor and patience scrapped and sanded a great deal of surface area on the ship. They put up with yesterday’s high winds cool temperatures and somewhat damp conditions.
To top it off, yesterday was the fiftieth anniversary of the Mayflower II’s arrival in Plymouth harbor. There was cake, special guests playing a song especially written for the event, and a lot of happy visitors here to participate. Joe Meaney, the American cabin boy on the ship in 1957, was here signing crew pictures and telling stories about the ship’s crossing.
Here’s a picture of the ship when she arrived in 1957. Please notice the unpainted seams on the forecastle. All I’m saying is even when the ship had just arrived, brand new, there was painting going on.
At the end of the day the volunteers had scraped and sanded the bulwarks on the focsle deck, half deck, and half of the poop deck. This is a great start. Our sailing crew will be helping out on Thursday evenings as well. With just over a month to go until we sail we may not be able to wait for all the right conditions to come together to do a top shelf job, but by golly, the ship will look smart as paint.