'Old Ironsides' Gets Last Sail Before 3-Year Rehab

USS Constitution - “Old Ironsides”

USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides”, the world's oldest commissioned warship, gets underway for a turn-around cruise in Boston Harbor. - U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 1st Class Dave Kaylor from 10 June 2006

The USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned ship of war in the U.S. Navy, went for a final sail Friday before a three-year rehab.

The vessel, nicknamed Old Ironsides, will make one more trip across the Boston Harbor in October, said Peter Melkus, a spokesman. But it will be pushed by a tug instead of moving by sail power in an exhibition to mark the 217th anniversary of its launch.

Early next year, the Constitution goes into drydock. In addition to replacing copper plates on its bottom and doing other necessary repairs, the Navy plans to remove some additions made in the last couple of centuries.

"She kind of ballooned away from how she was originally constructed," Melkus said. "So one of our goals is to make her as authentic as possible to what we consider the era of her greatest popularity, the War of 1812."

The Constitution, named by President George Washington, was launched in 1797 as one of the Navy's first six frigates. The vessel fought in the First Barbary War and the War of 1812.

Read more at Military.com

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