After a lengthy restoration that began in 1968 in Mystic (Conn.) Seaport, the Charles W. Morgan set sail on May 17, 2014, on its history-making 38th voyage. The Charles W. Morgan’s 38th voyage will make a nearly three-month long journey that will include stops in historic ports of New England. In recognition of this event, OceanGrafix has partnered with Landfall Navigation to donate 24 charts to the voyage, which will span ports from Mystic, Conn. to Boston, Mass.
According to the Mystic Seaport website, the Charles W. Morgan was once a part of an American whaling fleet comprised of 2,700 vessels; today, it is America’s oldest commercial ship that is still afloat. Over an 80-year whaling career, the Charles W. Morgan embarked on 37 voyages between 1841 and 1921, most lasting three years or more. The Mystic Seaport website states, “Built for durability, not speed, she roamed every corner of the globe in her pursuit of whales. She is known as a ‘lucky ship,’ having successfully navigated crushing Arctic ice, hungry cannibals, countless storms, Cape Horn roundings and, after she finished her whaling career, even the Hurricane of 1938.”
After her whaling days ended in 1921, the Charles W. Morgan was preserved by Whaling Enshrined, Inc. and exhibited at Colonel Edward H.R. Green’s estate at Round Hill in South Dartmouth, Mass., until 1941. In November 1941, the Charles W. Morgan arrived in Mystic Seaport, where she was a centerpiece of the Mystic Seaport and more than 20 million visitors have stepped onboard to tour and learn more about America’s history.
According to the Mystic Seaport website, in 1966, the Secretary of the Interior designated the whaleship a National Historic Landmark as well as a recipient of the coveted World Ship Trust Award. In January 1974, the Charles W. Morgan was hauled out on the lift dock in the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard for inspection and hull work.
In November 2008, the ship returned to the museum’s shipyard for restoration. The Mystic Seaport website says the project renewed areas of the vessel, from the waterline down to her keel, and also addressed the bow and stern. When the vessel returns to Mystic Seaport in August 2014, she will resume her role as an exhibit and the flagship of the museum.
To follow the Charles W. Morgan as she makes her three-month voyage, you can visit the Mystic Seaport website. You can also follow OceanGrafix on Twitter (@OceanGrafix) and “like” “OceanGrafix” on Facebook as we will provide timely updates.