The Original Mayflower

On November 9, 1620, Mayflower‘s crew- known as the Pilgrims- first sighted land off Cape Cod near the Wampanoag village of Pamet. The next day, the ship attempted to travel south around Cape Cod to the colonists’ intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River (present-day New York). Bad weather and dangerous shoals forced Mayflower‘s master to turn back. The ship made landfall on November 11 at the tip of Cape Cod (present-day Provincetown). After exploring the Cape Cod area for several weeks, the colonists finally decided to settle at present-day Plymouth.

Mayflower passengers lived on board anywhere from seven to nine months depending on when they joined the voyage and how soon they left the ship for shelter on land.

No one knows for sure what happened to the original Mayflower. The last record of the ship was an assessment of her value in 1624. After that, she disappeared from maritime records. Several places in England claim to have a piece of the original ship, but there is no historical proof to support these claims.

Mayflower II

Mayflower II was built from 1955-57 in the town of Brixham, in Devon, England by the skilled shipwrights at the Upham Shipyard. A square-rigged vessel that is about 25 feet wide and 106 feet long, Mayflower II displaces 236 tons of water. She has four masts, including a mainmast, foremast, mizzen and sprit, with a total of six sails.

Mayflower II is a sailing vessel. Since the year 2000, she has sailed to Providence, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts and Provincetown, Massachusetts. She sailed Cape Cod Bay to celebrate her 50th anniversary in 2007. Mayflower II has also visited several other ports on the East Coast since she first arrived in America in 1957.

One of the most notable differences between a 17th-century ship and Mayflower II is the large modern staircase between the main deck and the lower decks. (In the 17th century, ladders were used). Electric lights illuminating the dark corners of the lower deck were also not standard in the 1600s! There were other minor modifications made to Mayflower II to make sure that she would be more accessible, safe and comfortable for the visiting public.

Historic in her own right, the almost 60-year old Mayflower II is currently being restored in Connecticut through a partnership between Plimoth Plantation and the maritime artisans of the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport. Support for the restoration is needed so that Mayflower II will be ready to sail in 2020, the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the original Mayflower.