SHAKO: “Old Ironsides” Last Voyage — for Now
Heading to Dry Dock.
The oldest commissioned vessel in the U.S. Navy — USS Constitution, better known as “Old Ironsides“ — is heading for dry dock soon for several years of repairs and renovations.
Old Ironsides made a final tour of Boston Harbor on October 17 to commemorate the U.S. Navy 239th birthday and her own 217th birthday, according to the Navy.
The ship received a 21-gun salute off Fort Independence on Castle Island in South Boston before the 44-gun frigate returned to her berth at Charlestown Navy Yard.
More than 500 guests — individuals and organizations with long-standing ties to both the ship and the Navy — accompanied Constitution on her fifth and final demonstration voyage of 2014. It was also the historic warship’s final Boston Harbor underway (but not under sail) until 2018. She is scheduled to enter dry dock in March 2015 for a three-year planned restoration period.
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, according to the Boston Globe.
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. The repair work will include de-rigging and removal of the ship’s upper masts and offloading the ship’s long guns. Constitution will be open for public tours from Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting this week. The ship’s captain, Commander Sean Kearns, advises visitors who want to see the tall ship, should come and see her before she goes into dry dock in March.
The first time your 4GWAR editor saw the mighty frigate was back in the mid 1970s and she was in dry dock at Charlestown then.
To see a brief Navy video of The Last Ride, click here.
SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.
Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, News Developments, SHAKO, Technology, Traditions, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: Naval War of 1812, naval warfare, Old Ironsides, tall ships, U.S. Navy, USS Constitution, War of 1812 Bicentennial.