After a 26-month long restoration project, the USS Constitution — the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world — will launch back into the Boston Harbor from its current location in Dock 1 in the Charlestown Navy Yard on Sunday.
The restorations included replacing most of the ship’s copper sheeting, repairing the outside wooden planks, and rebuilding 42 gun carriers throughout the ship. Refurbishment of the rigging and masts were also included. Costs of this maintenance project were estimated to be at most $15 million; however the final costs came in at $12 million.
Protecting the Constitution’s iron sides
The ship has an average thickness of 21 inches and is 25 inches thick at the waterline. After most of the ship’s copper sheeting was removed and the outside wooden planking inspected, repairs underneath began. What was repaired:
Work on the ship’s bow
Considerable restoration work was done in the bow area to repair rotted 20th century structural timbers and to restore some of the most decorative pieces that give the ship its visual character.
Repairing the rooms with a view
Repairing the quarter galleries on either side of the stern is like repairing little houses: Each has walls and a roof. Their unique construction, coupled with weather, make them two of the most restored parts of the ship.
To learn more about the efforts involved in the restoration process, visit the USS Constitution Museum’s Restoration Blog.
Celebrations on Sunday will take place at the Charlestown Navy Yard from 9 a.m. until midnight. The ship is estimated to return to the Boston Harbor at approximately 11:30 p.m. Find out more about the free event on the USS Constitution Museum’s website.