Charles W. Morgan continues its 38th journey - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Charles W. Morgan continues its 38th journey

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MYSTIC, CT (WFSB) -

The Charles W. Morgan had returned to New Bedford, MA, on July Fourth, which is where it was built in 1841.

Last month, the historic whaleship embarked on its 38th voyage, carrying a cargo of knowledge to ports all around New England.

"This particular vessel has such a link to American history," said the Morgan's Captain Kip Files.

For 80 years, the ship circled the globe in search of whales, and more than 20 million people at Mystic Seaport alone walked her decks.

"So many people have a connection with this boat," said Dana Mancinelli, a deckhand on the Morgan.

No one alive today has ever sailed the Morgan, until now, when the ship is on its 38th voyage after being fully restored.

What Mystic Seaport is doing this summer has never been done before. Its flagship is sailing to cities around New England, on its own. The only help, on this 38th voyage, is coming from a tugboat, escorting the national historic landmark in and out of port.

It takes a seasoned crew to pull it off.

"The captain, he is in charge of everything outside the ship. He's thinking about the other boats. My job is everything that's inside the ship," said Chief Mate Sam Sikkema.

"I'm focusing on the details of the mast, if you will. So, I don't worry about the foremast but the main mast and the spanker - the sails back here, that's my world," said Sean Bercaw, second mate.

Women make up more than half of the Morgan crew.

"I've been coming to Mystic Seaport since I was a kid," said Dana Manicelli, a deckhand who grew up in Connecticut and called this voyage a dream come true. "It's a wonderful, wonderful place to work."

The Morgan also has a stowaway, Ryan Leighton who is a journalist from Maine. He is sharing his experience on social media.

"I'm not a sailor. And so as I progress as the stowaway I want people to kind of learn my story and what it's like to live on a whaling boat," Leighton said.

While he is aboard the ship he is learning the ropes and pulling his weight just like everyone else. The payoff is a rare opportunity to relive history.

"I'm reading the logs and diaries kept by these whale men. And so what I would like to see sometime during this voyage, I would like to feel,  to look out over the horizon and feel like I am a whaler back in the 1850s," Leighton added.

The 38th voyage is all about bringing history to life, to promote a better understanding of the past, and the deep and vital connection we, as a young nation, shared with the sea.

The Charles W. Morgan returns to Mystic Seaport next month. And this 38th voyage will bring her storied history full circle, for only by acknowledging the past, can there be perspective for the future.

"I will never forget that the seaport took the brave step of not only rebuilding it, but to learn some more about it by taking her sailing and telling her story throughout southern New England .. and it's a great story," Files added.

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