USS Constitution sets sail for last time for 3 years - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

USS Constitution sets sail for last time for 3 years

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Courtesy Kate Redding Courtesy Kate Redding
BOSTON (WHDH) - The U.S.S. Constitution set its sails for the last time before the warship heads to dry dock for a three-year repair project.
  
The Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship still afloat, left its berth at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston at 10 a.m. Friday, set and struck three topsails, and then fired a 21-gun salute off Castle Island.

"Very special day for me and crew and all of the participants," said Capt. Sean Kearns. "It's just very rare opportunity to get underway on this ship but to actually be able to set sail and have the ship sailing under its own power has only happened a handful of times."

Select members of the Navy joined U.S.S. Constitution sailors to set Old Ironsides' top sails for the last time until 2018.

"There is less than one percent of the Navy who can say they've been a crew member on board. So to be part of that one percent, it's an amazing feeling," said crew member Amanda Williamson.
  
The Constitution will get underway for the final time before the repair job on Oct. 17 for its 217th birthday, but will not set its sails at that time, because they will have already been removed.
  
Constitution crew members have spent the past week training 150 U.S. Navy chief petty officers on sailing techniques utilized aboard Old Ironsides since the 1790s.
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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