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USS Constitution makes last cruise before repairs

The USS Constitution was at the center of a sendoff celebration Friday in advance of a multiyear renovation project, as the 18th-century frigate made a three-hour cruise featuring gun salutes, musical performances, and visits by public officials.

This morning’s trip commemorated the 239th anniversary of the Continental Navy on Oct. 13, 1775. More than 500 people, including Governor Deval Patrick and members of his administration, were scheduled to participate in the cruise.

The renovation is scheduled to continue through 2018. Officials have said the effort is intended to more closely align Old Ironsides with its historical shape after decades of repairs that did not follow the original design.


Among the efforts, the Constitution will get new copper plates for the hull to make the ship more seaworthy. Officials will check the blueprints of the Constitution’s sister ship, the USS President, as they design the repairs.

Officials came aboard Old Ironsides Friday.Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff
Commander Sean Kearns, captain of the USS Constitution, greeted honored guests as the ship prepared to leave for a turnaround at Castle Island in South Boston.Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Members of Concord Independent Battery fired a 21-gun salute at Castle Island in the ship’s honor.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/Globe Staff
Bosun mate chief Allan Hawthorne photographed crew members as they climbed the ship’s rigging.Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/Globe Staff