Old Ironsides Out For A Float

View of Boston from Deer Island

By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner

I recently had the opportunity to watch Old Ironsides, the U.S.S. Constitution, sail in the Boston Harbor. Thankfully, my aunt had called to inform me of its trip to Deer Island, and I decided it would be a fun Sunday activity. I did not realize at the time that it would be only the second instance since the 1880’s that Old Ironsides would float unassisted. Generally, there are tugboats on either side the entire time it is in the harbor during its yearly turn around.

Old Ironsides by Castle Island in Southie

As it is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, this momentous sailing by the Constitution was to commemorate its battle with the HMS Guerriere. Unfortunately, that ship could not be here for a mock re-enactment as it sank soon after the battle 200 years ago.

I made my way to Deer Island in Winthrop and waited for it to appear. I knew from the tall ships spectacle this summer that nothing having to do with these old, big ships occurs quickly. They are slow moving, lumbering things, though they are graceful in their own way.

There was a great crowd along the coast of Deer Island with many people out for a sunny Sunday morning to enjoy the spectacle. I sat on a rock along the path, basking in the brisk morning air, writing, and watching Old Ironsides.

Old Ironsides Floating Free

I loved watching old Ironsides make her way out. She then floated for about 15 minutes with no tugboat alongside, sailing about 1100 yards unassisted. However, the breeze died right as she was to sail, so that was bad luck. Then, the tugboats moved in and she returned to Boston. It was great to see her out in the harbor and it was a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.

With the sails up and sailing toward Boston

© Ramona Flightner

  • Jen FitzGerald

    So cool!!! Thanks for sharing that.

    • Hi Jen! Thanks for visiting. I had a great time and the weather was beautiful.

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