Charles W. Morgan sails again in Newport - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Charles W. Morgan sails again in Newport

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By Dana Griffin

dgriffin@abc6.com

@danaRgriffin

NEWPORT, RI- Docked for the day at Fort Adams in Newport, the Charles W. Morgan still floats, 173 years after it first launched out of New Bedford.

She last sailed in 1921. Before then, the whaling ship produced oil that fueled the Industrial Revolution.

"Families were touched by whaling and that whole industry itself. Sailing, and sail makers and boat builders and all that stuff, so it's an opportunity to tell that story," said Captain Kip Files.

She's been restored to the closest replica of that time period. The sails are cotton, and ropes are made of natural fiber.

Mary Ellen Hussey visited the ship with a friend. She said, "Just the splendor and the glory of the masts, it's just beautiful; its breathtaking."

It's not operated by engine, just wind in the sails and the captain at the helm.

Deckhand, Skip Wood showed ABC 6 News how it’s steered.

The stairs are very narrow to get below deck where the sleeping and dining quarters are located.

Beyond that is the blubber room where pieces of whale were stored before boiling the oil out of their flesh.

Onboard is an original blubber tub. Inside you can still feel the coating of whale oil.

She's been stuck in arctic ice, boarded by pirates, and endured countless storms.

Now, the ship is used to educate and support whales.

20 million visitors have walked on deck. After touring New England, the Charles W. Morgan will become a permanent fixture at the Mystic Seaport Museum, maybe.

Captain Kip Files said, "You know they said in 1941 when she got to Mystic that was her last voyage, so, never say never."

The ship is a national historic landmark on its 38th voyage. The Charles W. Morgan is the oldest wooden whaling ship in America.

Once it leaves Newport, the ship will head to Vineyard Haven, New Bedford, Provincetown and Boston.

It costs $5 per person, children 5 and under get in free.

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