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The USS Constitution sailed under its own power from the Boston Harbor last Sunday. The event commemorated the War of 1812.
The Constitution cruised the open seas for 17 minutes at a top speed of 3.1 knots. Its 65-member crew, together with 150 sailors unfurled four of its sails. Tugboats were on standby as a precaution while the Constitution sailed on its own.
Launched on 1797, The Constitution last sailed on its own in 1881. During the War of 1821, the Constitution, under the helm of Capt. Isaac Hull, bested the British frigate Guirrere off the coast of Nova Scotia. The battle lasted for 35 minutes. Both blasted cannons at close range and the vessels almost collided at one point. But the Guirrere is no match to the longer and heavier Constitution. The win gave a morale boost to the disadvantaged American side.
The Constitution is periodically tugged into harbor for historical display, but it is only the second time that it had been on the open seas for more than a century. The event followed a three-year restoration project of the USS Constitution.
“This ship is a national icon to us. … She’s very special to us. We think she’s very special to the United States,” said Chief Petty Officer Frank Neely, a Constitution spokesman and crew member.
News source: www.cbsnews.com