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Mayflower

Mayflower with all sails set

The Mayflower

The Mayflower, known as the small vessel that led the Pilgrim's to America, was built around 1584. She was a small 100-110 foot galleon weighing 200 tons and could carry a maximum of 102 people. She was intended as a cargo ship, not a passenger ship. Under the command of Capt. Christopher Jones since 1609 and 30 crew, she took the Pilgrims to Plymouth and weathered a terrible storm in the North Atlantic, before reaching Plymouth in November. A while later, on May 5th 1621, the Mayflower returned to England, after being anchored for 6 months. On March 5th 1622, Capt. Jones died and a little while later in 1623, the 35-year-old famous ship and galleon Mayflower was probably sold for scrap lumber. She was rigged as a galleon or carrack, with 3 masts and square sails with a latten on the mizzenmast. A replica has been built of her, however. The Mayflower did participate in the fight against the Spanish Armada in 1588 as part of the squadron of London.


The Speedwell

The Speedwell is more well documented, but under a different name for much of her records. She was built in 1577 under the name Swiftsure. She was the property of Queen Elizabeth I of England. She was built due to nearing war with Spain. She was only 9 years old when the Armada occurred. She fought in the western squadron of 105 ships and also served as the vice flagship of the Earl of Essex's 1596 Azores expedition. After peace was signed with Spain, she was rebuilt and renamed the Speedwell and weighed in at 60 tons. She was very old (43) when the Pilgrim's merchants leased her to them. The ship, with the Mayflower set sail in July of 1620, but took on water and had to stop for repairs. On August 17th, they set sail once again. The Speedwell took on water and grew very leaky and had to stay behind. It is likely that the crew sabotaged their ship to get out of their contract with the merchants. Beyond this, its fate is unknown.

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