Retrospective: Mystic's great dream becomes a reality (first published May 2014)

Mystic Seaport's (Connecticut, USA) great dream has become a reality - 1841 whaling ship Charles W. Morgan sails again, on the first stage of her 38th voyage.


Charles W. Morgan departed Mystic Seaport on 17 May 2014



For the first time since her arrival at Mystic Seaport in 1941, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan departed Mystic Seaport, Connecticut, USA, on 17 May 2014 and headed down the Mystic River on a journey to New London on Saturday. The trip is the first stage in her return to sea on her 38th Voyage, following major restoration carried out in Mystic’s own shipyard.


Following a brief ceremony in the Museum shipyard, the ship was towed down the Mystic River and passed through the Route 1 drawbridge in downtown Mystic en route to Fishers Island Sound and the Thames River. She berthed at City Pier in New London. The Morgan led a procession of Museum watercraft and whaleboats.




In New London, the crew will finish fitting out the ship for her 38th Voyage, which will begin with a sail to Newport, Rhode Island, scheduled for 14 June.


New documentary


In the lead-up to the voyage  there is a new documentary and features on Mystic Seaport. 



For those in the USA, “The Charles W. Morgan” documentary film will begin airing on PBS (USA) stations nationwide on May 17, 2014 (In the USA check local listings as each affiliate station can choose when and if they want to broadcast it).


The one-hour documentary film, directed by five-time Emmy winner Pryor, tells the extraordinary story of America’s last wooden whaleship and the incredible saga of whaling, the first global industry dominated by America. From her humble beginnings in New Bedford in the year 1841, the film follows the adventures of the Morgan on 37 voyages around the world where this 'lucky ship' survived freeze-ups in the Arctic, attacks by hostile natives, fire aboard ship, and a host of other stories, each of which had the potential to end the vessel’s life. Yet more than 170 years later, Charles W. Morgan lives on, and she is poised to sail again, on her 38th Voyage in June of 2014.


A preview:


And on YouTube:


Mystic Seaport has also featured in the US program, “CT’s Cultural Treasures”. This brand-new 5-minute clip from Connecticut Public Broadcasting is a profile of Mystic Seaport:


Mystic Seaport's 2014 campaign includes a series of 19 “webisode” videos that run anywhere from 1:30 to 2:30 minutes. To date, they have a clip on the Morgan and one on their shipsmith. You can access those two and all the future clips at:


Charles W. Morgan's Stowaway for Historic 38th Voyage


After reviewing scores of applications and video auditions from qualified candidates, Mystic Seaport selected journalist Ryan Leighton, of Boothbay, Maine, USA, to stowaway aboard Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest surviving merchant vessel, during her 38th voyage this summer. 


As the stowaway, Leighton will be immersed in all aspects of the 19th century whaling ship’s 38th voyage – living on board the ship with the crew, handling the sails and lines, steering the ship, and most importantly, sharing his daily experiences through a blog and social media platforms.


“Ryan proved he has the ‘sense of the adventure’ Mystic Seaport was searching for from the outset of the stowaway contest,” said Susan Funk, executive vice president of Mystic Seaport.  Leighton said “one of the main reasons I wanted to become the stowaway is because it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sometimes the most satisfying feeling is not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Typically, stowaways are forced to remain hidden below deck, but with this opportunity, I will be able to insert myself into the daily routine of the ship. My goal is to fully immerse myself, so that others are able to live vicariously through my videos and stories.”


Leighton will watch, inquire, learn, participate, and use his creative energy to share the voyage experience with the general public through blogging, videos, social media, and activities in the port cities.


The 38th voyage


While on the 38th voyage from May to August 2014, Charles W. Morgan will stop at historic ports of call throughout New England including visits to New London, Conn.; Newport, R.I.; and Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, and Boston, Mass., where she’ll dock next to the USS Constitution


She will also anchor off the coast of Provincetown, Mass. for day sails to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, where the Morgan will team up with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to observe whales in their natural environment. While the Morgan’s cargo was once whale bone and oil, the vessel will embark upon her final voyage bearing a message of peace and serving as a symbol of our changing relationship with the natural world.


Today - a review of Morgan's journey


A review of Morgan‘s journey can be seen by following this link