I have not had a chance to post anything on the blog for a few days. I would like to say it is because Rich Moos is re-vamping/upgrading the blog site to make it easier to do the postings but that’s not really the case. We have been very busy prepping for, then actually moving Mayflower II.
Moving the ship is an elaborate involved process that takes at least a day of prep. The ship is attached to the pier with permanent mooring lines all of which have to be unshackled. As George Ward says, “Everything about Mayflower II is heavy.” The shackles are big, the mooring lines are big the chains to the shackles are big, and all of us, like Mayflower herself, are aging.
We have to prepare the gangways, which are not only big, but also so heavy they need two one-ton chain falls to lift them off the ship. I don’t think the ship likes having the heavy wait of those gangways constantly pressing down on one side. They inhibit the free movement of the ship. It can kind of get to you, I mean the ship, that kind of weight all the time bearing down, with unrelenting pressure, shackled to one spot with no chance for free, independent movement.
George, Paula, Jack and I, along with some help from artisans from the village got everything ready so that we could move the ship right at five o’clock as soon as it closed to visitors.
We coordinated the move with the contractors who are working on the pier. We employed our age old technique of having a bunch of people show up, tug on lines, secure lines and fend off the ship with tires when the ship go too close to the pier. The contractors used the crane and push boat to do a lot of work.
They made the nice wooden set of temporary stairs, placed gingerly on the deck with the crane. We used our shop truck, a fairlead block, and a long line to pull the ship out of its berth. As always, staff showed up to help and make the job easier. Because everything on Mayflower is heavy a well coordinate large group of crew makes the work doable. There is almost nothing on the ship that can be accomplished by one person alone. Taking care of the ship is a team effort that has been going on for fifty years now. It hasn’t always been the same people or same number of people to see that Mayflower remains afloat and a viable sailing vessel. But it has always been a team. The team is the thing.
So, for now the ship is out on the face of the state pier. It looks great out there with her commanding presence and accessible main deck. People seem to enjoy walking up to the rail, looking over at the deck and watching the going on aboard the ship.