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Whaleship begins journey back to the water

After nearly five years out of the water, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan took an important step towards her anticipated July 21 launch as she began her move on Monday to the Museum’s ship lift.

Mystic Seaport shipyard staff members pulled her about 40 feet sideways so her cradle was in line with the rails that will guide her out to the lift. The vessel had been moved to the side in late 2008 so that other vessels could be hauled while she was out of the water.

The next major step occurred on Wednesday when the ship was rolled approximately 200 feet out onto the ship lift. She will then be partially lowered into the water so her bottom planks will have the opportunity to soak up water and swell.

Unfortunately, visitors will not be able to board the ship for the next few days, but she will be open sometime on Thursday in her new location.

The ship has been undergoing a comprehensive restoration at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at the museum since November 2008. A National Historic Landmark and the country’s oldest commercial ship, the Morgan will embark on a ceremonial 38th Voyage in late spring 2014 to historic ports in New England, including New London, Newport, Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, Provincetown, and Boston. She will also venture onto the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary near the mouth of Massachusetts Bay.