USS Constitution Completes Latest Restoration

Story Number: NNS101108-09Release Date: 11/8/2010 11:41:00 AM
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By Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald, USS Constitution Public Affairs

BOSTON (NNS) -- Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston and the crew of USS Constitution wrapped up their three-year restoration period Nov. 6.

In addition to structural repairs, the major focus of this overhaul was to further restore 'Old Ironsides' to her 1812 appearance.

"Every restoration that the ship undergoes is important," said Margherita Desy, NHHC Detachment Boston historian. "Each restoration extends her life and longevity. What is interesting about the 2007-2010 restoration is the visual impact it has on everyone."

This restoration replaced the spar deck to reintroduce the camber, curve, into her top deck and to restore her upper sides to her 1812 appearance. In addition, 50 hull planks, the main hatch and 10 other areas were repaired or replaced.

"Basically, by removing everything we did topside, we removed approximately 35 tons of weight," said Rich Whelan, NHHC Detachment Boston director. "In turn that helps. It takes all that weight off of the keel."

The major targeted projects for this restoration are complete, but maintenance will always be required.

"With any repair or restoration to USS Constitution, the ultimate goal is keeping our nation's ship in service as long as possible," said Cmdr. Timothy M. Cooper, 71st in command of USS Constitution. "Seeing her appearance change to more accurately reflect her fighting days will only help our Sailors more effectively share her story and her place in our country's history."

With everything that was removed from the ship, people will see, for the first time in more than 80 years, what Constitution looked like after her triumph over the HMS Guerriere, where she gained her nick-name 'Old Ironsides', said Desy.

Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. She is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors a year.

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USS Constitution returns to her pier after an underway to celebrate her 213th launching day anniversary.
101021-N-7642M-317 BOSTON (Oct. 21, 2010) USS Constitution returns to her pier after an underway to celebrate her 213th launching day anniversary. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald/Released)
October 22, 2010
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