USS Constitution to Set Sail on Sunday, Aug. 19
The USS Constitution will sail into open water under its own power to celebrate Guerriere Day, the day the ship earned its "Old Ironsides" nickname.
Charlestown’s nautical prize, the USS Constitution, will set sail under it own power for the first time in 15 years this weekend.
According to a release from the Constitution’s public affairs officer, the event will begin at roughly 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19. Once the ship makes it to Presidents Road, the release said, the crew will set up the sails, catch the wind and head toward open water.
A crew at Fort Independence on Castle Island will mark the moment with a 21-gun salute. The Constitution is scheduled to return to its pier around 3 p.m.
The ship last sailed in 1997 to celebrate its 200th birthday. This year’s open-water sail will commemorate Guerriere Day. On August 19, 1812, the USS Constitution’s crew spotted the HMS Guerriere, whose crew had already spotted the American ship. The two ships fought, and the Constitution proved that it was the more formidable vessel, with its larger guns and thicker hulls.
As some historians have it, early in the battle, one of the Guerrier’s cannon balls bounced harmlessly off the Constitution’s hull, prompting a crewmember to shout “Huzzah! Her sides are made of iron!"