Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mayflower..... A "sweet" ship.

The Mayflower was what was called "a sweet ship." Before carrying the Pilgrims across the Atlantic, she had been a cargo ship transporting wine between England and other European countries; hence, she smelled "sweet." That was surely a plus. But consider these numbers: there were 102 passengers plus a crew of 25-30. The ship was estimated to be about 100' long by 25' wide, or 2500 square feet. When you divide 2500 by 128 (guessing) you get less than 20 square feet per person in which to live and store your belongings. A typical bedroom is 10x12? Or 120 square feet. Would you want to live for 66 days (on a rough north Atlantic crossing) with 10 other people in a space the size of your bedroom or office?????? My hat is off to my ancestor, William Bradford, and all those intrepid others.

The Mayflower had been in service since 1609 (under the constant command of Capt. Christopher Jones) and in 1623, after her most famous voyage, the ship returned to England and was likely dismantled for scrap lumber. Although the story is considered apocryphal, the Mayflower Barn just outside the Quaker village of Jordans in Buckinghamshire is said to be built from these timbers.

This photo is of a replica, the Mayflower II, moored in Plymouth harbor and open for touring.

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