On Sunday, May 17, 2015, Dry Dock 1 in the Charlestown Navy Yard was flooded in preparation for USS Constitution‘s entrance on Monday night, May 18, 2015. Flooding began at 8:00 AM Sunday morning and took about two hours. After the dry dock was flooded, the caisson (floating gate) was removed and tied up behind the ship at Pier 1 East.
A series of docking lines will be used to warp and position Constitution into Dry Dock 1. The orange line bow line, shown in the foreground of the image below, is run from the ship to the capstan at the head of the dry dock.
The capstan is the principle mechanism for pulling Constitution into Dry Dock 1. Today it is powered by an electric motor and was recently refurbished in preparation for the ship’s dry docking. The capstan will winch, or warp, the ship into position as it floats into dry dock. The original capstans, installed when the dock opened in 1833, were man-powered.
To help center Constitution while entering the dry dock, additional docking lines will run outboard, starboard and port. They will be manned by the staff of the Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and crew from Constitution.
Margherita M. Desy
Historian, Naval History & Heritage Command
Margherita M. Desy is the Historian for USS Constitution at Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston.
Manager of Curatorial Affairs, USS Constitution Museum
Kate Monea is the Manager of Curatorial Affairs at the USS Constitution Museum.