The ship restorers and riggers who worked on the USS Constitution while it was in dry dock are being recognized for their efforts to preserve the 220-year-old vessel.
On Thursday, the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston, which is in charge of repairing and maintaining the iconic ship known as Old Ironsides, is set to receive the Don Turner Award, an honor that is named after the former head of the USS Constitution Maintenance and Repair Facility.
The award caps off a major restoration of the iconic ship, which spent two years in dry dock undergoing extensive repairs. It returned to the water in July.
“It hadn’t been out of the water in 20 years,” said Richard Moore, director of the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston.
From May 2015 to July 2017, the restorers and riggers replaced more than 100 hull planks, recaulked the lower hull, installed more than 2,000 new sheets of copper sheathing, overhauled the rigging, and rebuilt a significant part of the bow, according to a press release from the USS Constitution Museum, which is presenting the award.
“The Navy takes a lot of pride in the Constitution,” Moore said.
Moore said the plan is to bring the USS Constitution out into the harbor for a short cruise to Castle Island on Oct. 20.
Meanwhile, work continues to be done on Old Ironsides, Moore said.
“You can look at it this way: If you had a 220-year-old house, you’d be doing maintenance on it,” Moore said.
“This one’s in water.”Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.