NEWPORT, RI - The historic whaleship Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial vessel and a National Historic Landmark, completed the first leg of her 38th Voyage when she sailed into Newport, Rhode Island, on Sunday.
This is the Morgan’s first sailing voyage since 1921.
The Morgan cast off from City Pier in New London, Conn., at 9:15 a.m. and was towed up Fisher’s Island Sound and through Watch Hill Passage. Once on Block Island Sound the ship dropped the tow and set all working sail to make her way to Newport. She arrived in the harbor and tied up at Fort Adams at 6 p.m.
“Seeing the ship with her sails set just as they were in the heyday of her whaling career was an incredible sight. It was truly seeing history come alive,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport.
Sunday was the first time the Morgan's 38th Voyagers were on board the ship. The Voyagers are individuals from around the world who applied to participate in one leg of the Voyage, and then communicate their experience based on their discipline or talent. Voyagers range from poets and scholars, to musicians and artists. There were nine Voyagers on this leg.
Matthew Ecklund, an artist and educator with Call of the Sea, a non-profit marine education organization based in Sausalito, Calif., spent his time on board sketching the crew at work as the basis for a series of quill and ink illustrations to be used in future exhibitions and programs.
“I hope to bring back the lessons that can only be learned by first-hand experience. The 38th Voyage is an exciting and inspiring event for so many people, and I want to be able to take the experience of the 19th-century sailor and use it to inform what we try to achieve in our education programs in California,” said Ecklund.
The 38th Voyager program is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
The Morgan will be open to the public at Fort Adams from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17. She is scheduled to continue her voyage with a transit to Vineyard Haven, Mass., on June 18.