Mayflower II ship heads to dry dock for 2½ years - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Mayflower II ship heads to dry dock for 2½ years

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The Mayflower II. (WFSB file photo) The Mayflower II. (WFSB file photo)

The Mayflower II made another pilgrimage to Connecticut - this time for a more expansive rebuilding and refitting.

The 60-year-old replica of the ship that carried the Pilgrims to Massachusetts in 1620 was towed to Mystic Seaport on Tuesday. It arrived there on Wednesday.

Once there, it will be placed back in dry dock for major reconstruction that's expected to take 2½ years.

"The first big project will be to open the bottom of the boat up and get all her ballast out. The rig has to come out completely," said Scott Noseworthy, Mystic Seaport maintenance supervisor.

Organizers say they plan to return the ship to its home port of Plymouth in 2019, in time for the 400th anniversary celebrations to be held in 2020.

"We're pretty well prepared. Got a lot of material put by we've been hiring up our staff. Now that she's here we're going to hit the ground running and go for it," said Quentin Snedicker, preservation shipyard director.

Officials have been scrambling to raise $12 million for the restoration project.

The Mayflower II has been a major regional tourist attraction and educational resource since 1957.

The organizers said they are installing live cams during restoration, which they hope to stream here within about one week.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.