Set­ting Sail for the Past

Three Re­pro­duc­tions of 17th-Cen­tury Tall Ships — God­speed, Susan Con­stant and Dis­cov­ery — Pre­pare to Re-Cre­ate a Por­tion of the Jour­ney That Brought English Colonists to Jamestown

The Washington Post Sunday - - Metro - By Fredrick Kun­kle

JAMESTOWN, Va. — “Let’s lay aloft and loose all sails!” This sends Susan Har­ris clam­ber­ing up the rig­ging that stretches like a gi­ant spi­der­web from the deck al­most to the top of the ship’s 72-foot mast.

Hand over sneaker she goes to the yardarm, then inches oh-so-care­fully side­ways un­til she is stand­ing on a thin rope five sto­ries above the James River. Cord by cord, Har­ris loosens the main­sail un­til the great white sheet bel­lies out with the breeze.

Off it goes, the God­speed, borne by the wind into an­other time, 400 years ago.

“I just love it up there,” Har­ris says back on deck. She is no younker, as the young sea­men who climbed the rig­ging were known long ago. At 59, Har­ris is a new grand­mother.

The for­mer ice skat­ing in­struc­tor from Wil­liams­burg is one of 60 vol­un­teer sailors who are re-cre­at­ing the ma­jes­tic voy­age of three tall-masted ships to mark the 400th an­niver­sary of the first per­ma­nent English colony in the New World.

By Thurs­day, the God­speed and two other 17th-cen­tury re­pro­duc­tions will set sail to Cape Henry, off Vir­ginia Beach, to com­mem­o­rate the colonists’ land­fall there April 26, 1607. The God­speed will then em­bark on a month-long Jour­ney Up the James, visit­ing Hamp­ton, New­port News and Clare­mont be­fore re­turn­ing here for An­niver­sary Week­end, a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar cel­e­bra­tion from May 11 to 13. Af­ter­ward, the jour­ney will con­tinue to Hen­ri­cus and Rich­mond. Each stop will fea­ture tours of the ship.

One thing is cer­tain: This trip will be eas­ier than the first one.

Al­though the three orig­i­nal ships — the God­speed, the Susan Con­stant and the Dis­cov­ery — are nowhere near as fa­mous as Christo­pher Colum-

BY BILL O’LEARY — THE WASH­ING­TON POST

BY MARVIN JOSEPH — THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Tony Flores, left, and Steve Link learn the fine points of run­ning the God­speed, a 17th-cen­tury re­pro­duc­tion and one of three ships that will set sail Thurs­day to Cape Henry, off Vir­ginia Beach, to com­mem­o­rate the colonists’ land­fall April 26, 1607. The God­speed will then em­bark on a month-long Jour­ney Up the James.

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