Rhode Islanders and anyone who can get to Newport tomorrow will have the chance to see the beautifully restored sailing ship Charles W. Morgan at Fort Adams State Park. She will be open to the public from 9am to 5pm.
The Charles W. Morgan first set sail in 1841 as a whaling vessel in pursuit of whales for their oil. With blubber rendering kettles mounted to her decks, her crews spent as many as three years on each voyage. The ship’s quest for whales and whale oil lasted for 37 voyages and until 1921, an astounding 80 year career for a wooden ship cruising some to the roughest seas in the world.
Oldest wooden commercial vessel
The Morgan, the oldest commercial vessel in the United States, and the second oldest wooden sailing vessel only to the USS Constitution, became part of the collection at Mystic in November 1941 where she has played an important role in keeping alive the history of New England shipping and the whaling industry that was so important during the 18th and 19th centuries. A 22,000 sq. ft exhibit that details the history of the whaling industry and the Morgan will be accompanying the ship in order to allow the public to better understand the vessel and its work before boarding her.
Itinerary to other ports this summer
The Charles W. Morgan has just completed a complete a years-long major restoration at the shipyard at Mystic Seaport and last week began a sailing tour of New England ports. This voyage is the first time that sail has been set on the Morgan since 1921. After the open house at Newport on June 17, the Morgan will set sail for Vineyard haven on June 18 and will be there from June 22-21-24. From June 26-July 6 she will be at the historic whaling port of New Bedford for a series of special events before sailing to Charlestown Navy yard in Boston from July 8 through 22. As a part of the celebration of the restoration, the Charles W. Morgan will sail to the Stellwagen Banks National Marine Reserve, this time not as a predator of whales but to support efforts to restore the ecology of the sea.