A new contributor to the Captain’s Blog am I. A few brief words of introduction are necessary and then we’ll be clipping along smartly discussing Mayflower II.
I’m George Cushman, 40-something, a serious amateur photographer and self-professed Mayfloweraholic. I’ve been interested in the ship since my early childhood and my photographic endeavors have taken me to the ship hundreds of times to record her on film. I was a founding member of the “Friends of Mayflower II” group in 1989 and I was a crew-member on the ship when she was sailed in 1990, 1991 and 1992. Then, unfortunately, a pretty significant back injury sidelined my participation working on the ship and in the Marine shop as a volunteer. But since then, I’ve remained interested in the ship and what has been going with her and I have had the chance to extensively photograph her on many of her subsequent sailings.
I’ve known many members of the Marine Department over the past 30+ years and try to stay in touch with them the best that I can as my time allows, which isn’t as often as I’d really like to connect with them. I’ve known Peter for a bit over 20 years back to the days when he was commanding Plymouth-to-Provincetown whale watching vessels and the Plymouth Harbor tour boats American Eagle and Pilgrim Explorer. Now he has the responsibility of caring for Mayflower II and he and his fellow Maritime Artisans have been doing a fine job of it for at least 15 years now.
I am grateful to Peter for making available to me the opportunity to occasionally write about the ship as part of this blog. Over the past several weeks he has been giving an inside view of how the topmasts and yards are “shipped,” i.e. moved from the dock and put in place in their proper places in the rigging. His entries have been made while the actual process of re-rigging Mayflower II has been on-going for the coming 2008 season.
In the coming weeks, my entries will deal with the rigging pertaining to the ship’s sails – how they are bent, the lines which control them, and some of the differences in their rigging from Mr. Baker’s sail plan to the way they were set up for the 1957 crossing and the way they are rigged today. I hope that readers will find the entries informative and interesting; I’ll begin by discussing the forward-most sail, the spritsail, in my next entry. And please feel free to post any comments or questions if you have any. I will try to reply to and all questions if and when they come.